Baltimore-Maryland’s bid to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026 took a major step forward today following a very positive inspection of the city by the football world governing body.
The FIFA delegation concluded a successful visit on Monday evening having visited the world-class M&T Bank Stadium as well as centrally located prospective fan zones and training camp venues across the city.
Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott led the team presenting Baltimore-Maryland 2026’s ground-breaking vision for hosting matches in one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
During the presentation to FIFA, Baltimore-Maryland 2026 showcased the city’s outstanding sports facilities, transformative legacy plans, super-compact hosting concept and the bid’s mission to deliver a FIFA World Cup 2026 experience perfect for teams, fans and FIFA. Baltimore-Maryland 2026 also shared its broader vision to engage new fans, develop football in the United States and support FIFA to expand the game around the world through its International Football Development program.
On Sunday night the FIFA team saw M&T Bank Stadium at it’s very best, packed with 71,000 fans, as the Baltimore Ravens secured a nail-biting 36-35 victory over Kansas City Chiefs, the highlight of the NFL week 2 schedule. During the game, the Delegation met with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor Rutherford, Mayor Scott, and Baltimore-Maryland 2026 Ambassador, and Ravens legend, Ray Lewis.
M&T Bank Stadium is one of the key strengths of the Baltimore-Maryland bid having undergone a $140 million makeover within the last few years. With an ideal downtown location and excellent domestic and international travel connectivity, M&T Bank Stadium will allow fans to be at the heart of the football festival quickly and conveniently. Situated just 10 miles from the BWI-Marshall International Airport, and with more than 10,000 hotel rooms within walking distance, the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 outline has been praised for offering a great fan experience in a city with its sports teams at its heart.
In addition to an inspection of M&T Bank Stadium on Monday, FIFA also took part in a meeting at the World Trade Center on Pratt Street. There, they heard from a variety of speakers including:
Al Hutchinson, Visit Baltimore
Quantrell Jones, UMBC Soccer player
Rodney Oddoye, BGE- Exelon
Shelonda Stokes, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore
Speaking during the visit, Victor Montagliani, President of CONCACAF and FIFA Vice-President praised the Baltimore Maryland bid saying
“I think you just (have) to be what you are. It’s just like our sport of football, right? You have an identity of what your team is, and you have to play that way.”
Lt. Governor of Maryland Boyd K. Rutherford said
“We have been hugely encouraged by FIFA’s inspection visit, it was a privilege to be able to share our exciting plans with them in person. Maryland is home to thousands of football fans from all around the world. A FIFA World Cup hosted in our state will be a World Cup that makes all of the teams who play here feel at home, with the levels of support to match.”
Mayor of Baltimore Brandon M. Scott said
“A FIFA World Cup in Baltimore will be a celebration not just of the beautiful game but of the diverse cultures that call our great city home. Hosting a World Cup here will support hundreds of businesses, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of new investment in Baltimore. After today’s inspection visit, I am more excited than ever at the chance to welcome the biggest sporting event in the world to Charm City.”
President of the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 bid team Terry Hasseltine said
“I’m so proud of everyone in Baltimore for making such a fantastic impression on the FIFA delegation. Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup would be a landmark moment in our city’s history and the legacy being a host city would leave across the city and a state is one of our bid’s great strengths.
“Baltimore Maryland offers the chance to create a whole new football market in the US, something no other city can offer. There is still a long way to go in this race but it has been great to showcase just what an amazing event the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Baltimore, Maryland would be.”