Mayor Turner held a press conference to announce the friendly game news and introduce the new leadership of Houston’s bid committee for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Houston will host the US national soccer team in a friendly against Chile in March, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Thursday.
The game will take place on March 26, 2019 at the BBVA Compass Stadium. It will be the first time since 2012 that the US men’s national team has returned to Houston.
The mayor made the announcement during a press conference with the Harris County Sports Authority Thursday morning.
During the press conference, Mayor Turner also introduced the new chairman of the United Bid Committee, billionaire John Arnold.
Arnold will chair the committee working to choose Houston as one of the host cities for the 2026 World Cup.
“Bringing the world’s most popular sporting event to the most diverse city in our country is a challenge I’m looking forward to. Football has been a lifelong passion of mine and it is a special honor to represent my hometown to help make that happen. ” he said.
Arnold said the process will be competitive as 17 cities battle for ten spots.
The 17 US cities will join three cities in Canada and three in Mexico to host the Games.
Arnold said no city is more ready to host the Games than Houston.
The Houston Games will be held at NRG Stadium. The football stadium has a capacity of 72,200, slightly less than the 80,000 required for the opener or the final, but it could still host one of the dozen other games.
The president of Houston Dynamo said the World Cup in Houston could be one of the greatest things that has ever happened to the city.
“We still have a lot to do, but let’s keep our fingers crossed, it’s our direction,” said Chris Canetti.
The return of the World Cup to North America marks the first time since 1994 that the Games have been played on North American soil.
According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group’s management consultant, hosting the Games could generate more than $ 5 billion in economic activity across North America in the short term, with an overall net benefit of $ 3 billion to $ 4 billion.
Incremental economic activity could amount to $ 160 million to $ 620 million in each individual host city, creating a net benefit of about $ 90 million to $ 480 million per city after considering potential public costs.
Here are the potential venues for the 2026 World Cup: