TAMPA, Fla. – The city of Tampa is not among the U.S. cities that will host World Cup games in 2026.
The Tampa Bay Sports Commission withdrew from bidding on the World Cup in January, the first of numerous American cities to withdraw because of unknown expenses demanded by FIFA – soccer’s governing body.
News reports have painted the requirements to host games in 2026 as "a blank check," including nearly a decade's worth of tax breaks, exemptions on visa laws, and security and safety bills.
Tampa has bid on – and won – several large events in the past like the Republican National Convention in 2012, the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game and this year’s NHL All-Star Game. The city will also host the 2019 NCAA women’s college basketball Final Four, the 2020 NCAA men’s basketball tournament and Super Bowl LV in 2021.
Several other cities also withdrew from bidding on the 2026 World Cup, including Chicago, Minneapolis and Vancouver.
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Tampa has hosted a World Cup qualifier before, but these demands are more significant than before. FIFA also demanded several exemptions from state labor laws. However, since the bidding is confidential, 10News was unable to confirm additional details.
This is the first time the FIFA has seen a joint North American bid to host the World Cup.
The U.S. last hosted the World Cup in 1994. Mexico has hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. Canada will host the World Cup for the first time in 2026.
The 2026 World Cup has 48 teams playing a total of 80 games - 60 planned across 10 U.S. cities, and 10 games in three cities for each of Canada and Mexico.
FIFA will select 10 U.S. cities among Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The Canadian cities hosting games include Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto. The Mexican cities hosting games include Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.
On Wednesday, FIFA member federations voted 134-65 in favor of selecting the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup over Morocco.
Morocco lost again with its fifth bid campaign in the past 30 years, including to the U.S. for the 1994 World Cup.
Editor’s Note: The Associated Press contributed to this story. Below is a timeline of major sporting events Tampa has hosted or will host in the future. The timeline starts with January 2017's College Football Playoff national title game.