On June 16, Atlanta, Georgia, was selected as one of the 16 host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup! The Atlanta Sports Council (ASC), a division of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, led the bid effort in collaboration with Governor Brian Kemp, Mayor Andre Dickens, House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, state and local government leaders, AMB Sports + Entertainment, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to win the bid. Read more here.
How Did Atlanta, Georgia Win the World Cup Bid?
Leaders at the City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia have taken numerous proactive steps over the last few years to ensure Atlanta, Georgia, would be named a host city for FIFA World Cup 2026. Thanks to Governor Brian Kemp, Mayor Andre Dickens, House Speaker David Ralston, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, and members of the General Assembly and Atlanta City Council, Atlanta, Georgia, has hosted major sporting events for decades.
With the passage of HB 951 in 2016, Georgia exempted the sales tax on tickets for non-recurring major sporting events, a host requirement and an incentive to recruit these events. This past legislative session, the General Assembly passed HB 1034, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Wiedower and Senator John Albers. HB 1034 extended the sales tax exemption to 2031 and included the FIFA World Cup as a major sporting event. This legislation directly impacted our ability to qualify and be selected as a host city by FIFA.
Also, for the time in state history, the FY2023 budget included an initial investment of $250,000 to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) for public safety and security expenses associated with hosting the FIFA World Cup 2026. This investment will help ensure a safe and secure event for all fans and attendees of the World Cup.
The City of Atlanta has provided first-class hospitality, security, transportation, and other vital resources necessary to host numerous major sporting events over the last several decades. They’ve also provided critical staff and key city personnel to successfully prepare for and host these major sporting events.
We thank the current and past members of the Atlanta City Council and General Assembly who, through their leadership and foresight, have made strategic investments into Georgia’s sports future.
In September 2019, the Metro Atlanta Chamber hosted the Winning Georgia’s Sports Future conference, a deep dive on all things Georgia sports that united a group of diverse leaders from throughout the ecosystem for discussions around how we continue to move forward as a region.
During the event, we hosted John Kristick, executive director for the 2026 World Cup United Bid Committee, for a look into the process of attracting the 2026 FIFA World Cup to metro Atlanta. We heard from a panel of leaders from our top professional teams: Atlanta United FC, the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Dream, and the Atlanta Falcons. We examined the lasting legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games, discussed homegrown talent with some of our collegiate athletic directors, and directed our gaze to the future with the emerging esports industry.
Thanks to the attendance of many legislators, local elected officials, federal staff, business, and civic leaders, heads of professional and collegiate teams, and supporters of our sports ecosystem, we were able to highlight the importance of hosting major sporting events to our economy, economic development, and communities.