Will Denver host a World Cup match in 2026? We’ll know by the end of the week

John Daley/CPR News
FIFA officials attended a press conference and toured Denver on Oct. 25, 2021, which is bidding to host games in the 2026 World Cup tournament.

Soccer’s governing body will announce Thursday which U.S. cities will participate in the 2026 World Cup hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the USA.

Denver is one of 16 U.S. cities vying for games. Only 10 will make the final list, along with three Canadian cities and three Mexican cities.  

The decision is expected around 3:00 p.m., with some sports channels live streaming the announcement.

Denver’s chances to host games are seen as slim, with cities like Philadelphia, Dallas and Miami ahead in the pecking order. Denver is among the few cities in the region looking to host soccer’s most prestigious competition.  

Local soccer fans are optimistic about Denver’s chances, especially after the Nations League semi-finals, third place match and final were unexpectedly moved to Empower Field at Mile High last year. All four events sold out, including those that didn’t feature the U.S. Men’s National team, making fans hopeful FIFA will notice the sport’s popularity in the region. 

FIFA officials toured Denver in October, examining things like transportation, accommodations, sustainability and Empower Field’s infrastructure. 

A joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the USA beat out Morocco’s offer to host the 2026 World Cup. It will be the first time the World Cup will be played in North America since 1994.