On Thursday, Boston soccer fans could have something huge to cheer about.
That's when FIFA announces the North American cities selected to host the 2026 World Cup, and Boston is in the running.
It's not just about hosting games of soccer's top international competition. Here is what's on the line for the city:
- Up to $500 million in gross economic activity
- Hundreds of thousands of visitors
- Hotels near 100% occupancy
No past event in the city’s history would come close to this one, said Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Visitor and Convention Bureau.
"Maybe if we hosted the Olympics," she said. "That's probably comparable to what it would be like to host the World Cup."
FIFA is expected to select 10 host cities in the United States and three each in Mexico and Canada. Only 16 American cities are thought to be left in the running, giving Boston a better-than-even shot of making the cut.
Other American Cities Competing to Host World Cup Games
|Houston||Kansas City||Los Angeles||Miami||Nashville|
|New York/New Jersey||Orlando||Philadelphia||San Francisco||Seattle|
While Boston’s bid is thought to be strong, there is one area of vulnerability when measured against its competitors. Gillette Stadium, where games would be played, is a long distance from the high volume of hotel rooms in Boston and Providence.
No one seems certain that public transportation will be up for the challenge.
"We will have to spend more time thinking about how we get people there and what kind of transportation options can we provide. But that's to be determined. Okay, we’ll get creative, let’s put it that way," Sheridan said.