Photo via Orlando City Soccer Club/Facebook
In a few years, Orlando may become one of the chosen ones — one of the
chosen hosts, that is.
Earlier this month, the United States, Canada and Mexico announced a joint bid
to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament. Now Orlando is one of the cities that they're considering as a host for some of the matches, the Orlando Sentinel
Mayor Buddy Dyer received a letter from Sunil Gulati, the president of the United States Soccer Foundation, on July 10.
“We believe Orlando is a strong candidate for participation in this process, given your support of soccer, stadium facilities and tourism infrastructure you already have in place,” the letter stated.
The opening of the new soccer stadium and the renovations at Camping World Stadium helped draw the attention of the soccer world. Other major events that have taken place here recently, including Wrestlemania
this past April, serve as a testament to Orlando's success in managing activities with considerable numbers of attendees. As a thriving tourist destination, Dyer thinks Orlando would be perfect for hosting a large-scale sporting event.
“Hosting is a common thread that connects our community: our formidable group of government officials, visitor’s bureau leaders, corporate partners, media outlets, marketing and event planners, hospitality providers, and network of hundreds of volunteers are ready and excited to mobilize,” Dyer said in his response to U.S. Soccer.
Orlando has been a gracious host in the past. In 1994, World Cup matches took place here, and Camping World Stadium hosted three first-round match-ups during the COPA America Centanario last year. This past weekend, Camping World Stadium even hosted an International Champions Cup exhibition match between Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-German.
Next year, a World Cup qualifying match will take place at the soccer stadium. The official host for the 2026 World Cup will be announced in 2020.