Denver names itself as host city for 2026 FIFA World Cup

DENVER – It starts with the field.

The basis of any football game is the field on which it is played.

The same goes for the type of international football Americans call football, and based on that premise, the home of the Broncos could soon be home to the best in the world.

With FIFA officials in town on Monday, local luminaries including Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis welcomed them and the media to Empower Field in Mile High to do their best as the town hopes to become one of the many hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be held across North America.

And this stadium – where more than 70,000 fans can flock to watch the world’s best football teams compete – is the basis of Denver’s bid.

“It starts with the pitch, it starts with the stadium, and then you build everything around that,” said Victor Montagliani, CONCACAF president. [Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football] and vice-president of FIFA.

With the stadium’s track record of hosting top-tier American football games, recent CONCACAF games, concerts and other massive events, local officials have said Denver should be the top contender for the one of the limited places across America.

“This stadium has hosted iconic events over its 20-year history – from AFC Championship games featuring the Denver Broncos; concerts including the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and U2, between others; former President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention; and last June, this stadium hosted the United States Men’s National Team’s 3-2 victory over Mexico in the ‘one of the most exciting games in CONCACAF history, “said Matthew Payne, executive director of the Denver Sports Commission.” There is magic in this stadium, and we think it will be an amazing place to host World Cup football matches in 2026. “

Denver is vying for the honor along with 17 other contenders in America. In the initial offer that FIFA accepted, the United States was destined to host three quarters of the matches; if that were to always be the case, America would get 12 host cities.

It’s hard to sum up what makes a successful host bid other than having a quality stadium and pitch. Population might not be a huge factor – “People will take any form of transport to get to this game to watch it and watch their country play the World Cup,” Montagliani said – but he There are more pieces to the puzzle than terrain and population size.

“We are looking at the geographic distribution,” said Colin Smith, FIFA Tournaments and Events Manager. “Obviously when you look at the footprint of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, it’s huge. I think it’s the biggest footprint we’ve had for a World Cup. One. critical elements, again, comes down to the teams. It’s important that teams don’t crisscross such a large territory, and we look at the clusters and we look at how can we ensure that teams are treated equally across the board. areas of the possible and that the travel distances are kept within a certain limit. important that we have this distribution of cities in the three countries – north, south, east, west – in order to guarantee that. Obviously, it comes from the players’ side. . Then you also have the fans – obviously an essential part of any World Cup. And again, geographic distribution is important – not only to tap into the resident communities present across the country, but also to r have these locations for fans who also travel. “

But no matter which city wins their bid, the longest lasting impact can be evident in the people they inspire, like Tim Howard, the former Colorado Rapids goaltender who has also appeared in three World Cups. .

“I’m supporting this host bid because I’ve seen what the power of a World Cup can do,” Howard said. “I saw how it can galvanize communities. It can bring hope to children. Especially the young people of our city and our country. I was one of those children. I will take it back to 1994, the last time we had a World Cup and I was 15. I remember looking at these players on the US Men’s National Team thinking, “Someday I’ll be them.” I don’t. didn’t know how I was going to get there. I just decided that was what I wanted to do. And then luckily three times – 2006, 2010 and 2014 – I got to represent my country in three World Cups And when you’re a young kid, whatever club team you play, whether you’re playing here in America or abroad, the only thing you want to do, above all else, is represent your country. And to do it in a world The Cup is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt i. It is vibrant. It’s the pinnacle of everything we do as players. “

Howard, like the committee trying to bring the World Cup to Denver, hopes that the kids in that town – who “have my heart,” he says – can be similarly inspired by world-class football in the world. their garden.

“We are set and ready to make this the best World Cup and the best host city there is,” said Howard. “When I think of the fans, when I think of the passion – like I said, I spent four years here, it was my home. I went to stadiums in this city that were just standing. We have more passion than I’ve ever seen. And that’s why – even though I’m a kid from New Jersey – that’s why I call it home. “

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