Baltimore Makes Final 23 Cities in North America’s World Cup Bid

| March 19, 2018 | 0 Comments

Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium is one step closer to potentially hosting FIFA World Cup soccer games as its been listed as one of the final 23 cities in North America’s bid for the 2026 tournament. The North American bid, which includes Canada, Mexico, and the United States, submitted its formal bid last Friday and will compete against Morocco in FIFA’s June 13th vote to decide the host of the 2026 World Cup.

The list of 23 North American cities was trimmed down from 32 cities originally included in the bid. From the Washington Post:

If the North American bid is successful, 16 cities would stage matches, said John Kristick, executive director of the United Bid Committee. The United States would host 60 games, and Canada and Mexico 10 apiece. Mexico would probably get to use three venues and Canada two or three, leaving the United States with 10 or 11.

Ongoing renovations to M&T Bank Stadium will certainly strengthen Baltimore’s bid. The Ravens and Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) are in Phase 2 of a $144-million investment in M&T Bank Stadium.

Phase 1, which was completed in the 2017 offseason, included two new 200 ft.-wide and 36 ft.-high 4K ultra-high definition video boards in the end zones, replacing the existing boards, and installing the stadium’s second LED ribbon display above the club level.

Phase 2 will be completed by the start of the 2019 season. It includes two sets of escalators with access to the stadium’s upper level, and four new suites in the upper deck “corner notches.” Large 4K ultra-high definition video boards, measuring approximately 33 ft. wide and 44 ft. high, will also be installed atop each of the four suites, providing fans with additional in-game content, NFL highlights/scores, statistics, and fantasy information. Improvements will also include upgrades to the club level’s concession stands, bathrooms, and bar/lounge areas; upgrades to the stadium’s kitchen facilities, which include building an additional kitchen; and a new sound system.

Stadium Journey recently named M&T Bank Stadium the top NFL stadium experience.

A lot of improvements are currently in the works around M&T Bank Stadium as well. The $275-million Stadium Square mixed-use project has been under construction for several years; The Parker Building is nearing completion for a conversion to a 50,000 sq. ft. office building; and 175 West Ostend St. is currently undergoing renovations with new tenants to include Checkerspot Brewing Company. A new Hammerjacks music venue is expected to begin construction this month and a Topgolf has been proposed for the current site of BARCS and Parking Lot J.

CBAC, the owners of Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, recently spent $8,022,500 on two large buildings along Warner St. and adjacent to M&T Bank Stadium. CBAC is partners on the Topgolf proposal and is calling Warner St. Baltimore’s “next great entertainment district.”

Here is a list of the cities still in contention for North America’s 2026 World Cup bid:

CANADA

  • Edmonton
  • Montreal
  • Toronto

MEXICO

  • Guadalajara
  • Mexico City
  • Monterrey

UNITED STATES

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • New York/New Jersey
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

Renderings courtesy of the Ravens and Maryland Stadium Authority

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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