PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The stage is set. Philadelphia has been named one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
A watch party was held at LOVE Park in the city center and football fans exploded with excitement when their city was named the venue for the World Cup.
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) June 16, 2022
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“Yes, finally the real fans of the world can show how awesome they really are,” said one fan.
“It was so hyped, it was like the best party ever. Everyone here in Philadelphia is raving about it. People pass by who aren’t even football fans, Union fans , and they crave it too,” one fan said.
Fans were a little nervous waiting for the announcement.
“I had a stomach ache but I knew in my heart we had it,” one fan said.
Even Mayor Jim Kenney was a little nervous.
“I was wondering what, God forbid, we didn’t realize we were going to do with all these people here and how we were going to get back to City Hall. But there was a time in my life when I was more relieved. That’s when Tom Brady got that Mary salute pass to Minnesota,” Kenney said, referring to the Eagles’ Super Bowl 52 win.
Games aside, city officials say the deal is great for business and a major boost to the local economy.
And when 2026 arrives…
“I’m so pumped. It will be a historic moment for Philadelphia, it will be a historic moment for everyone here,” said one fan.
World Cup matches in Philadelphia will be played at Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc offers pristine natural grass, ideal for world-class football stars and was a big part of the city’s home ground in FIFA.
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It also has almost 70,000 seats, a perfect place to host thousands of football fans from all over the world.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie said the organization is “thrilled” for the World Cup to be held in Philadelphia.
“We are proud to host the highest level of competition in the game in front of a global audience,” said Lurie. “The City of Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field are well prepared to provide the international soccer community with an unforgettable experience in 2026.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 16, 2022
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will also be played in Canada and Mexico.
FIFA announced the 2026 host cities on Thursday: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Guadalajara, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Monterrey, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver.
Your #Fifa World Cup Host cities 2026:
🇺🇸New York / New Jersey
🇺🇸San Francisco Bay
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 16, 2022
CBS3’s Pat Gallen previously spoke to Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin about the city’s selection to host the 2026 World Cup.
“I’ve heard little hints in different interior rooms that we’re in a good position after maybe being an underdog in typical Philadelphia Union fashion to be selected for the 2026 World Cup, but if that comes to fruition, international people coming to experience all the great things we have here. All the culture, all the big, passionate fan base that we have here. It will be something really special. It would make me proud as a selfish Philadelphian and I think Philly needs to be 100 per cent involved in the World Cup,” Curtin said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement calling it an “incredible victory for Philadelphia.”
This is an incredible victory for Philadelphia and sets the stage for an unprecedented year for our city in 2026. FIFA has seen what we all know to be true: Philadelphia is a welcoming, world-class city and we have the experience to deliver a fantastic experience for teams, fans and sponsors. Over the past five years, a tremendous amount of work has been done on this bid, especially as we have gone through multi-year delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am immensely proud of the exceptional work we have presented to FIFA, and I am grateful to the many partners who have come together to support this bid, including the PHLCVB, who have led the charge since the United bid in 2016-17 and the Philadelphia Eagles, who made Lincoln Financial Field such a spectacular venue. I especially want to thank Ambassador David L. Cohen and Dan Hilferty who have been the passionate chairs of this candidacy. Their commitment to the vitality and success of our city cannot be overstated, and FIFA’s selection of Philadelphia as host city reflects the power of their civic leadership. For this, and much more, we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Now it’s the waiting game for football fans around the world. The summer of 2026 and the World Cup will be here before we know it.
THE WORLD IS COMING TO PHILLY IN 2026! pic.twitter.com/MzL1T16yPc
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) June 16, 2022
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CBS3’s Kerri Corrado and Alyssa Adams contributed to this report.