First, it was events like the Super Bowl, college football title games and even a Formula 1 race. Now, Hard Rock Stadium can add another top sports event to its resume.
The Miami Gardens stadium was selected Thursday to host games in the 2026 FIFA World Cup. South Florida was one of 16 sites selected.
“It means a great deal. You know, soccer is played here in South Florida," Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris said. "Probably one of the biggest soccer venues in the United States, so a lot of people play soccer here and it’s gonna be incredible to see how this all pans out and 2026 is going to be amazing.”
Miami joins other U.S. cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Kansas City, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia and New York/New Jersey in hosting games.
“We put our heart and soul into this bid. We gotten Formula One, we have all these major sports and we’re just natural that a city like Miami, which is the intersection of internationalism gets a world cup," Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.
Rolando Aedo with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau says years of vying to be an official host city is already producing yields.
"The benefits have already started, and there will be a series of activities not just in 2026," Aedo said. "There’s going to be the draw, there’s going to be the game selection, the teams, all the activity we will benefit from that on an ongoing basis."
It's hard to determine the exact extent of the economic impact, Aedo said, because Miami could host two, four or even six games.
"This is yet another feather in Miami's hat as we continue to reaffirm ourselves as a global city: F1 racing, Michelin and now World Cup soccer," Aedo said.
And for the World Cup, the bureau’s work is just beginning — on Sunday, it’ll meet with FIFA to discuss branding and marketing.
"We want to work with the guidelines they set forth, and then of course, give it a Miami twist," Aedo said.
The 2026 World Cup will be expanded to 48 countries taking part. In addition to the 11 sites in the United States selected by soccer's governing body, three other sites in Mexico and two in Canada were selected.
It will be the second time a Florida city has hosted a World Cup match. Orlando hosted several matches in both the first round and Round of 16 in the 1994 World Cup, the only other time the United States has hosted the event.
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