South Baltimore Parks Eyed for Potential 2026 World Cup Fanfest

| September 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

As Baltimore makes its bid to be one of the 10 United States host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosted by North America, several parks in South Baltimore are being eyed as sites for a World Cup fan fest if Baltimore is chosen. These sites include South Point in Port Covington, Federal Hill Park, the Inner Harbor promenade, and Fort McHenry in Locust Point. Harbor Point in Fells Point is also a potential fan fest site.

Baltimore-Maryland 2026 is the group pushing for M&T Bank Stadium to be selected as one of the 10 American stadiums out of the 17  left in contention. Baltimore-Maryland 2026 President Terry Hasseltine said Baltimore is trying to offer the most consolidated footprint of the potential World Cup sites. This includes having the fan fest in walking distance to the stadium as well as having hotels, transportation, and entertainment options in close proximity to the stadium. Hasseltine said Baltimore is also one of the few places that can offer all of the soccer training sites within 30 minutes of the stadium.

A fan fest would have large television screens playing World Cup games from all of the 10 North American host cities. There would also be food vendors, beer vendors, and activation zones for sponsors.

Hassletine said it would be “Ravens Walk on steroids.”

Hasseltine highlighted the close proximity of the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill Park to M&T Bank Stadium, and said they both could be incorporated into the fan fest. He also said when the greenway trail network is completed along the Middle Branch in Port Covington and up Ridgley’s Cove towards M&T Bank Stadium, a walk from South Point to the stadium would only be three-fourth of a mile. Harbor Point is also eyed because it’s in walking distance to M&T Bank Stadium.

While Fort McHenry is the farthest potential fan fest site, about 2.6 miles from M&T Bank Stadium, Hasseltine said it’s a historic and iconic site that must be considered due its role in the War of 1812 and since its where the Star-Spangled Banner was written. Hasseltine said Fort McHenry was a great host for the Sailabration and Star-Spangled Spectacular.

Many parks throughout the city will be used for additional music and cultural food festivals if Baltimore is a host city.

While Baltimore is seen as an underdog with many national soccer writers, Hasseltine likes the bid Baltimore is putting forward. FIFA officials were in town on Sunday and Monday and took in the exciting Chiefs vs. Ravens Sunday Night Football game at M&T Bank Stadium.

“I think we presented the declaration that we are a can-do city. We are authentic and our stadium comes alive for big events,” he said.

Hasseltine said the stadium has about 10,000 hotel rooms in adjacent neighborhoods and another 10,000 within a half hour drive. And, as far as transportation, Hasseltine highlighted the stadium is right on I-95, right on the Light Rail, right on the MARC train, a short cab ride from Penn Station, less than 10 miles from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and near a water taxi system. He also noted the cruise ships could be incorporated into the World Cup festivities.

Baltimore-Maryland 2026 took FIFA officials to the top floor of the World Trade Center and were able to point out every location and site that could be used for the event.

“I don’t know that another city can put forward the portfolio we provide,” said Hasseltine.

Federal Hill Park and the Inner Harbor

South Point 

Fort McHenry

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