Houston’s successful World Cup 2026 bid a win for city’s downtown hotels and restaurants.

Houston will host at least five-to-six World Cup 2026 games that will have an estimated $1B economic impact, according to city officials

Chris Canetti, president of Houston’s 2026 World Cup bid committee, with NRG Stadium (Twitter, NRG Stadium, iStock)
Chris Canetti, president of Houston’s 2026 World Cup bid committee, with NRG Stadium (Twitter, NRG Stadium, iStock)

Houston’s landlords and hotel and restaurant operators will get a piece of the expected $1 billion that’s expected to flow through the Bayou City with its selection as a host city for the Men’s World Cup 2026, the soccer world’s marquee event.

Soccer fans visiting Houston to attend World Cup games who stay in one of the 56,000 hotel rooms expected to be available in Houston during the games will help refresh the coffers of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA), the public entity that owns NRG Stadium, where the games will be played.

In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic completely shut down sports and live music events, the HCHSA reported collecting $32.4 million in taxes from hotel stays.

Since COVID, HCHSA collected $21 million in 2020, $23 million in 2021 and $7.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, according to HCHSA records.

Houston hotel landlords, operators and the HCHSA probably will be very happy if they can collect close to what Miami hotel rooms fetched during Super Bowl LIV when Houston hosts the World Cup games.

Houston’s successful bid also has a connection to the New York real estate world. EJS Group founder Ted Segal owns the city’s Major League Soccer club Houston Dynamo and the Houston Dash, the city’s National Women’s Soccer League franchise.

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The sports authority also owns PNC Stadium, the Dynamo and Dash’s homefield, which will be in the running to host practices and teams during World Cup 2026.

“This is the biggest, most popular, most prestigious, the most important sporting event in the world,” Chris Canetti, president of Houston’s 2026 World Cup bid committee told the Houston Chronicle. “Bigger than the Super Bowl, bigger than the Final Four, bigger than the Olympics and for our city to be able to land this event is spectacular. It’s going to be something unlike anything we’ve ever seen here before and it’s going to bring great value and great benefits to our city.”

When Houston hosted the Super Bowl in 2017, city officials claimed the event had a $347 million economic impact.

NRG Stadium will have to undergo close to $10 million in renovations. In total, Houston and Harris County will pay $70-80 million to host the games, Cannetti said. That’s far less than what other countries and cities have paid to host past games.

Houston was one of 16 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. selected to host games for the 2026 World Cup.

Dallas was the other Texas city selected to host World Cup 2026 games and will be in contention to host the semifinals or finals along with MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. because those venues have 80,000 seats, which is a minimum requirement by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, to host those games. Houston’s NRG Stadium seats 72,220 seats.

[Houston Chronicle] – Karn Dhingra