Miami tapped to host World Cup matches; State officials optimistic about economic potential

by | Jun 17, 2022

 

 

Miami on Thursday night was selected alongside ten additional American cities to host matches as part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Miami’s presence in the global tournament holds an expectation that the event could translate to hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, stimulating both the state economy as well as that of the Miami region as a whole.

Miami’s preexisting sporting and hospitality infrastructure allow for what should be a seamless transition to hosting, negating the need to spend nine-figure sums in order to properly prepare as most cities will need to do. The city’s history of hosting and operating large-scale events like the recent Formula 1 Grand Prix exhibited Miami’s ability to adequately accommodate an influx of domestic and international tourism.

“This is a generational opportunity,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “The U.S. hasn’t had a World Cup since 1994, and in those 30 years, Miami has become a dynamic, global city. All the people who live here from all the countries will be rooting for their teams. A lot of hard work was done by a lot of people to make this happen. I feel like I played a game, I am all sweaty.”

Government officials hope that the event can translate into profit for the state, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pushed efforts to court FIFA, the global soccer organizing association, to bring the tournament to Florida.

“It’s a great return on investment and I think it’s a great thing to experience for a lot of our young kids and families,” the governor said. “But also, it will pump a lot of money into the economy.”

Florida’s business-recruitment agency in late 2021 allotted $10 million to help Miami become a host city, with The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors voting to make available the funds to support the bid.

“Florida has the infrastructure, workforce, and experience in tourism and hosting large-scale events that make it a perfect fit to offer two host cities for the World Cup,” said Holly Borgmann, Vice Chairman of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors. “Enterprise Florida is proud to be able to support Miami’s efforts, which align perfectly with Governor DeSantis’ and our state’s economic development leaders’ efforts to keep Florida’s economy open, and consistently support business and industry and the world’s number one tourism economy.”

In Los Angeles, the site of the 1994 World Cup final, there was a total economic profit of $623 million that went directly into the metropolitan economy, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. In comparison, the 2020 Super Bowl held at Hard Rock Stadium brought in $572 million, as reported by Market Watch.

Just in California, logged data registered by the Pasadena Convention and Visitor’s Bureau concluded that 1,700 part-time jobs became available during the preparation and duration of the ’94 event, while New York City, San Francisco, and Boston received combined revenue of $1.045 billion.

A 2013 academic study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill assessed the efficacy of host cities bringing in revenue through the facilitation of increased economic activity, ultimately concluding that the act of hosting World Cup matches “clearly brings profits to the host counties.”

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