2026 World Cup in Philadelphia: Dates, plans, and remarks from Planning Committee and City Officials

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USMNT world cup
KANSAS CITY, KS – JUNE 05: United States forward Christian Pulisic (10) reacts to a corner kick during the match between the USMNT and Uruguay on Sunday June 5th, 2022 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, KS. (Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire)

On Monday afternoon, members of Philadelphia Soccer 2026 and Officials from the City of Philadelphia addressed the media to give their remarks on the release of the match day schedule for the 2026 World Cup. This included touching on games that will be held in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field during what’s being called the biggest sporting event in history.

Philadelphia to host 6 World Cup matches in 2026

Philadelphia was granted a bid on June 16th, 2022 as one of 16 host cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico for the 2026 tournament largely due to the efforts of La Salle University alum and City Host Executive for Philadelphia Soccer 2026, Meg Kane.

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Folarin Balogun of the United States celebrates after scoring against Canada during the first half of a CONCACAF Nations League final match Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

In collaboration with numerous organizations and committees around the city working on the planning stage of the World Cup in Philadelphia, it was announced on Sunday February 4th that the City of Brotherly Love would host 6 matches during the 2026 tournament in total – 5 group stage matches, and a Round of 16 match on July 4th, the 250th Birthday of America in its very own birthplace.

  • Saturday, June 14 – World Cup Group Stage Match
  • Friday, June 19 – World Cup Group Stage Match
  • Monday, June 22 – World Cup Group Stage Match
  • Thursday, June 25 – World Cup Group Stage Match
  • Saturday, June 27 – World Cup Group Stage Match
  • Thursday, July 4- World Cup Round of 16 Match

The organizers are thrilled with being granted 6 games during the tournament in Philadelphia, especially at the prospect of a USMNT July 4th game in the Round of 16 in America’s Birthplace. But they also understand that lots still needs to be done in order to keep the thousands – if not millions – of soccer fans funneling to Philly for the festivities feeling both entertained, accommodated, and most importantly, safe.

“What we’re really excited about is that this is really going to activate Philadelphia for 3 weeks with soccer happening here, and then with the overlay of the Fan Fest that will happen from opening match to closing match. So there’s so match activity that’s going to occur here, and when we think about the match dates and we focus on the dates, the one thing that’s really important, is that Philadelphia is going to feel these matches well in advance.”

Kane also noted that Philadelphia has the opportunity to become a base camp for one of the National Teams in the tournament with Philadelphia Union’s Subaru Park down in Chester, PA as a potential home-base option, which could see a National team move in as early as May 2026.

Kane also spoke on the opportunity that hosting an event like this brings to the city of Philadelphia from a tourism perspective and has confidence in the support system to help Philadelphia shine in the opportunity presented to them.

World Cup
London, July 7, 2021 – England’s Harry Kane celebrates after winning the semifinal between England and Denmark at the UEFA EURO 2020 in London, Britain, on July 7, 2021. (Photo by Xinhua/Imago/Icon Sportswire) ****NO AGENTS—NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Each of these events is like hosting the Super Bowl, a 3-day event, so we’re going to feel that 6 times in a 3-week period. This is the unprecedented opportunity to run a 40-day infomercial about how great our cities are”

But of course, an event this big goes far beyond a few soccer games down where the Eagles play. There’s a large operational aspect that takes years of planning and prep to develop even before the bid to host is granted. A spokesperson of Cherelle L. Parker, Mayor of Philadelphia offered some insight on the City’s ability to host an event of this magnitude

“I want to ensure you that the operational end of the City, we stand ready, we have the capability, the capacity, and the infrastructure and as she [Meg Kane] said, the security, transportation, all of those things are major things that we have been working on and we didn’t just start planning today or last week – we have religiously been doing this for a few years.”

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United States’ Djordje Mihailovic (14) celebrates after scoring as St. Kitts & Nevis’ Yohannes Mitchum (8) stands by during the second half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match Wednesday, June 28, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The World Cup is in 2026, but work starts now for Philadelphia

There’s still a lot of planning left to be done to ensure that the city actually has what It takes to pull this off. A member of Philadelphia’s Visitors Bureau says that each of the 6 matches being held in Philadelphia will consume about 26,000 room nights in a city that holds just 14,400 rooms within proper city limits. Plans to build additional temporary accommodations in Philadelphia are in the works, as well as relying on partners in the Philadelphia suburbs, New Jersey, and Delaware area to help house the influx of travelers.

In addition to housing, the planning committee is already set to work on making sure safety is a top priority for the month-plus-long tournament by already being in contact with local law enforcement from surrounding areas to ensure that the event is appropriately staffed come Summer of 2026. Those plans have also been brought up on a federal level with the involvement of Homeland Security which will continue throughout the duration of the tournament to make sure the event and the city are as safe as possible for all involved.

One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle to making the worlds biggest sporting event run smoothly will be public transportation, and the organizers are putting a lot of focus on that already, stating that SEPTA and its network played a huge role in Philadelphia receiving a bid in the first place. Host City Executive, Meg Kane says they want to work closely and lean into SEPTA and the opportunity the tournament presents to help excel public transportation in the city of Philadelphia. When asked if organizers will try and push local residents to use public transportation for the tournament, Kane responded with an enthusiastic “Absolutely!”, adding “The World Cup is not car culture, it’s a pedestrian experience.”

World Cup Fan fests

A huge part of that pedestrian experience will be the Fan Fest that again, will run from the 1st day of the tournament to the last. Organizers aren’t ready to announce potential locations for the official Fan Fest as FIFA has recently changed the requirements for their Fan Fests, which in turn, change what organizers are looking for.

Meg Kane says that typically Fan Fests need to accommodate upwards of 15-25,000 fans in one area to watch each game of the tournament live, but some host cities don’t quite have the space to accommodate something like that. So until the picture is a bit clearer, the Fan Fest plans will be kept under wraps and hopefully some info will be ready to be released to the public around Spring.

What about tickets to the 2026 World Cup?

Lastly, if you were wondering how accessible tickets will be for the residents of Philadelphia – there’s not much news on that just yet. FIFA deals with all things ticketing, says Meg Kane, and all host cities hope to ensure that those who live in the city have an opportunity to attend a match.

That being said, Kane recognizes that soccer fans, especially Americans, love to travel for the World Cup – so it likely won’t be an easy ticket to get a hold of. Organizers say we’re about a year out from ticketing info being released, and while that seems like forever away, oh how quickly the last 18 months since Philadelphia was named a Host City have gone.

We’re getting closer, Philadelphia. The World Cup is coming to the City of Brotherly Love.

Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire