2026 FIFA World Cup: Houston in line to host six games

The volume got a bit quiet in Houston’s move to get 2026 FIFA World Cup games. As the MLS season reaches its conclusion, it will get a lot noisier. Not a crescendo yet; but not quiet either, thanks to Houston’s committee working to get the 2026 FIFA World Cup to town.

Chris Canetti, Houston Dynamo/Dash President for 13 seasons, took over as president for the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee. As far back as December 2019, Canetti tabled how and why questions. He then emphatically stated that the 2026 FIFA World Cup definitely is coming to Houston.

He detailed that the city will host six of the 80-total World Cup games at NRG Stadium, where the NFL Texans play.

With what they’ve accomplished so far, the committee will land those games.

Houston is aiming to host six games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup

He confirmed that city and county officials got behind the effort. The budget to get the six games stands at $80 million. Initially, that sounds like a big number for six matches. However, these are not six regular-season MLS or USL games.

Canetti compared impact of the six World Cup games as equal to six NFL Super Bowl contests. And he was speaking conservatively.

Super Bowl LI in 2017 brought in $347 million per a report of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee.

Canetti’s committee believes the new $80 million investment will return at least $800 million. However, with fans keeping the local hospitality workforce busy in between games, the committee thinks that payoff could leap up to $1.3 billion.

So the Texas Gulf Coast Labor Federation and other labor organizations express favor in the bid.

The reason the volume will go up now is that FIFA delegates spent 36 hours in October visiting all the vital Houston sites, including NRG Stadium and the practice areas. They’ve got all the data needed to choose Houston from among the other 16 finalists.

FIFA is aware that soccer is the most popular field sport on the planet, except in North America. However, Houston’s population is amazingly diverse. When someone says football, it takes many citizens a moment to confirm which ball.

International Champions Cup; Bayern Munich; Real Madrid; NRG Stadium

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JULY 20: 2019 International Champions Cup between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at NRG Stadium on July 20, 2019. (Photo by Rick Kern/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)

Without getting into the weeds with FIFA delegates, the committee showed them that among the 17 host finalists, none has staged more major sporting events of any type than Houston since 2005.

So get ready to hear all about it sometime after the 2021 holiday season goes into the books.

The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee isn’t waiting for the final decision. Members already partnered with the local community and labor organizations to develop the Soccer Innovation Institute.

This will provide fans and athletes at every level to enhance their experiences with the sport and understand the game’s social and environmental impact.

So putting together this bid for Houston means installing a permanent monument, represented by the institute. Plus the city gets to host six games with the impact of six Super Bowls.

That’s if you describe it very conservatively.