BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore is one step closer to hosting a few FIFA World Cup matches at M&T Bank Stadium.
The World Cup hasn’t been in North America since 1994, but Baltimore has made the short list of cities that could possibly host some of the matches.
Soccer draws fans from all over the world and the games bring in billions of dollars, and come 2026, the City could be a host of the FIFA World Cup games.
“The city of Baltimore sets up perfectly to be a host destination,” said Terry Hasseltine, executive director of Maryland Sports for the Maryland Stadium Authority. “Our logistics, in the Mid-Atlantic corridor, walk-able venue to all of our attractions and amenities.”
Baltimore is 1 of 25 cities that advanced to the next round of selections, along with Mexico and Canada.
M&T Bank Stadium has already hosted international friendly matches in the past. With the stadium now having natural grass, M&T is now more appealing.
The announcement came weeks after the City missed out on hosting the next series of the Army/Navy games in the years ahead.
[Reporter: Can getting the FIFA World Cup make up for missing out on Army/Navy?]
“Oh yes, because of the worldwide exposure that comes with World Cup,” Hasseltine said. “This will go beyond the city of Baltimore, outside the State, because the corridor is so big when it comes to World Cup.”
With everything Charm City has to offer, officials like their odds of netting a spot as an official host.
“You break that down per match and you’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars,” Hasseltine said. “I feel very confident. Baltimore is a great soccer city.”
Baltimore is competing with other cities such as Philadelphia, New York and Washington D.C.
Officials say during the last men’s and women’s World Cup, Baltimore was in the top five viewer markets.
Morocco also submitted a bid for the 2026 tournament, which will be decided in June.