Being named a 2026 FIFA World Cup host city would result in an economic windfall of nearly a half billion dollars for the Cincinnati region, according to a new economic impact study.
The study, conducted by the nonprofit Alpaugh Family Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati, shows that hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup would bring a combined total economic impact of $449.4 million and 3,087 jobs with wages of approximately $129.2 million in the Cincinnati region covering 15 counties in southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana and northern Kentucky.
The study also finds that approximately $20 million in tax revenue will be created for state and local governments with $15.4 million resulting from sales tax revenue. The study was releases by the FIFA World Cup local organizing committee ahead of a request that the Hamilton County commissioners agree to spend $10 million on improvements to Paul Brown Stadium for the event.
Cincinnati is one of 16 U.S. cities vying to be a World Cup host city for the 2026 international event at Paul Brown Stadium. The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first time that the expanded field of 48 teams will play in the World Cup, with 80 total matches, making it the largest in FIFA World Cup history.
Of the 16, 10 host cities will be chosen from the United States with the remaining host cities from Mexico and Canada. The official announcement will be made on June 16, 5 p.m. ET via a live broadcast.
“This report leaves no doubt that hosting FIFA World Cup matches will have an unprecedented economic impact on our region,” said Gary Lindgren, President of the Cincinnati Business Committee and Cincinnati Regional Business Committee. “Serving as a host city will result in close to a half billion dollars in economic impact, thousands of new jobs and tens of millions in tax revenue for our states, counties and cities in our MSA. This is one of the key reasons why our regions business, civic and government leadership has rallied to whole-heartedly support this bid.”
The study, which used a schedule of four matches hosted at Paul Brown Stadium as a reference since the 2026 schedule is not currently known, estimates that 267,384 fans will attend the four matches at Paul Brown Stadium. These visitors are expected to spend $305.20 per day for food, drink, retail, lodging and transportation over an average of four nights, resulting in an economic impact of $195.3 million dollars for Greater Cincinnati. Estimates show that Hamilton County will realize nearly $4 million in tax revenue while the state of Ohio will see nearly $7 million.
“When companies are considering expansion, opening businesses or relocating headquarters; or entrepreneurs are looking for a place to land, we want them to think Cincinnati is the place to be for them,” said Kimm Lauterbach, President and CEO of REDI Cincinnati.
According to the study, the spending made by visitors to the Cincinnati region will generate substantial fiscal benefits for the Cincinnati metro region. More than $19 million in tax revenue is estimated as a result of visitor spending in Greater Cincinnati during FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Last week, FIFA announced they expect that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be watched by five billion people around the world, far surpassing the record 3.5 billion who tuned in to the 2018 edition in Russia. For reference, the Cincinnati Bengals appearance at the Super Bowl versus the Los Angeles Rams was watched by 112.3 million viewers, generated over 99 billion media impressions, and had an earned media value of more than $4.3 billion for the region.
“The success of sporting events for our city has been remarkable over the last year, from the Bearcats football team to the Super Bowl run by the Bengals,” said Julie Calvert, President & CEO of Visit Cincy. “Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup would be equivalent to hosting 10 Super Bowls and would be another billion dollar marketing campaign for our city and region. The tens of thousands of visitors to our region coupled with the global TV audience would be another opportunity to showcase our region to the world.”