University of Phoenix Stadium submits bid to host World Cup match
PHOENIX — The Valley has moved one step closer to holding a World Cup soccer game after University of Phoenix Stadium submitted a bid to be a host facility.
U.S. Soccer said Thursday the Glendale stadium was one of 41 cities in either Canada, Mexico or the United States that expressed interest in welcoming at least one World Cup game. The 2026 tournament will be played in all three countries.
“The host cities will help define the United Bid,” United Bid Committee Executive Director John Kristick said in a press release.
“Each will offer the best facilities and infrastructure to stage the world’s biggest single-event sporting competition, the FIFA World Cup, and together they will play a key role in the development of the sport in North America.”
A shortlist of 20 to 25 stadiums was expected to be released later this month. U.S. Soccer said it expected 12 cities would be selected to host matches.
Cities that are not selected could be used for other means, such as training base camps, broadcast centers or other tournament events.
To be named a host venue, the stadium will have to show it can seat at least 40,000 people — University of Phoenix seats 63,400 for football. It will not be eligible to host the opening match or final, which requires a capacity of at least 80,000.
Glendale will have to provide information about its infrastructure, past experience hosting events and accommodations, among other topics.
The city will also have to show it has top-level training areas.
Though it is the home of the Arizona Cardinals, the stadium has hosted a slew of soccer games over the years, including a doubleheader quarterfinal for the Gold Cup in July.
The facility was home to three Copa America matches, including the third-place game between the U.S. and Colombia, last year. Various other international friendlies and tournaments have been played in the stadium.
Some games have drawn more than 60,000 fans.
It has also hosted several Super Bowls and was the site of the NCAA Final Four tournament in April.
However, University of Phoenix Stadium would face some stiff competition. It would be up against entries from Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Denver, some of which also have experience in hosting large soccer matches.