Atlanta gears up to host 2026 World Cup matches

Thirty years after hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta will again have the world stage.

Eight soccer matches of the 2026 World Cup, including a semifinal, will be played in Atlanta. The dates are set for June and July 2026.

“It was a home run,” said Dan Corso, the president of the Atlanta Sports Council. “You could not get a better result for our community, for our state, to have eight matches and a semifinal included in those eight matches.”

It all began in 2017, when North America put in a bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

A year later, FIFA awarded the bid to the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

In 2022, Atlanta learned that it would host part of the soccer tournament, but it wasn’t until over the weekend that the city found out how many matches will be played here.

Atlanta is one of 16 cities in North America hosting what is the signature event of the world’s most popular sport.

Corso said Atlanta is primed to host a world-class sporting event this.

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“We’re on global stage every day,” he said. “We’re an international city. We’ve got an airport that connects us to the world. We’ve got corporations and brands that call Atlanta home that are global businesses.”

The dates for the matches in Atlanta are June 15, June 18, June 21, June 24, June 27, July 1 and July 7, with the semifinal scheduled for July 15.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in September 2025. Corso compares it to hosting eight Super Bowls in the span of a month.

He said Atlanta has a top-tier venue with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will host the matches.

“It starts with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is the premier venue in the world,” he said. “It’s built for soccer – for international soccer, which is very important – and they’ve got one of the best franchises in all of soccer playing in it.”

He’s referring to Atlanta United, owned by Arthur M. Blank, who released a written statement Sunday, saying:

“The FIFA World Cup 2026 brings people together in a way that transcends borders and makes this tournament an unforgettable journey for fans globally.”

Corso said now the work begins to prepare the stadium and the city for this international event.

Grass, for example, will be put down in the stadium in early 2026.

“FIFA is very engaged with us and other cities in the planning,” he said. “They’ll be very involved in it, so we’ll work closely with them, and we’ll also find opportunities to work with other cities.”

He said it’s hard to put a dollar estimate on the economic impact the matches will have on metro Atlanta.

Much of that, he said, will depend on the countries that will compete in the city.

“We obviously hope the U.S. national team makes it here,” he said.

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