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June 16, 2022 — Choice vs. infrastructure

Today, the host cities for the 2026 FIFA men’s World Cup were selected across the North American continent.

Much has been made of the fact that several former shoo-ins for selection, such as Pasadena, Edmonton, Nashville and Baltimore, were not selected as one of the 16 sites for the 80-game World Cup.

But what was astounding was the fact that there were a number of cities which weren’t even in the final mix that could have been jewels for the game.

I’ll list a few here:

Indianapolis: Lucas Oil Stadium
Phoenix/Glendale: State Farm Stadium
Las Vegas: Allegiant Stadium
Tampa: Raymond James Stadium
New Orleans: Caesar’s Superdome
Toronto: Rogers Center
Buffalo: New Era Stadium
Detroit: Ford Field

I have a unicorn I’d like to propose to FIFA for the next time they want to have a world-beating event in the United States: Bristol Motor Speedway.

They’ve already tried putting down a grass pitch in the concrete infield, drawing almost 157,000 people for a college football game between Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Imagine what would happen if a top soccer game like a FIFA World Cup final was scheduled for that facility.

The mind boggles.

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