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Janis Burke, CEO of Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (Photo by Harris County - Houston Sports Authority)

FIFA World Cup

Houston’s World Cup preparations: A game-changer

Houston, the most diverse city in the United States, is gearing up to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and preparations are in full swing.

In an exclusive interview, the Houston Sports Authority has revealed the latest updates on the city’s progress.

The Authority has been working closely with other Host Cities across US, sharing best practices and ideas, and meeting with FIFA on a regular basis.


The city has concentrated on fundraising and legacy components, including the Fanfest in East Downtown, which will be a hub of activities during the tournament.

Infrastructure developments include renovations to NRG Park and improvements to training and base camp sites. In addition, the city is creating flexible space in the stadium footprint to accommodate both NFL and FIFA requirements.


Janis Burke, CEO of Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, is leading the charge in preparing the city to host this global event.

“We meet with all the USA Host Cities on a weekly basis to share best practices, brainstorm ideas, talk about security, and give updates on progress,” Burke said.

“We also have quarterly meetings with FIFA to ensure we’re on the same page.”


To ensure a seamless experience for visitors, the city is renovating stadiums to provide flexible spaces that cater for both American football and soccer.

“We’re creating flexible spaces in the corners of our stadium footprint to accommodate both sports,” Burke explained.


The city is also working on legacy components, including the Fanfest, which will be held in a part of the city that needs redevelopment.

“We want to leave a lasting impact on the community,” Burke emphasized.

“The Fanfest will be a great way to engage with locals and visitors alike.”


Volunteers will play a crucial role in the event’s success and the Authority is leaving no stone unturned in that quest.

“We’re recruiting volunteers to help with various aspects of the tournament.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to get involved and be a part of something special.”


Regarding fundraising, Burke said her outfit is working hard to secure sponsorships and partnerships to support the event”.

“It’s a team effort, and we’re grateful for the support of our partners.”


With a focus on safety, collaboration with law enforcement and Homeland Security is paramount.

“We’re working closely with authorities to ensure a safe and secure environment for all,” CEO of Harris County-Houston Sports Authority underscored.

Houston’s diversity will be on full display during the World Cup, the maiden edition with 48 teams, and Canada and Mexico as co-hosts.

“We’re the most diverse city in the US, with over 100 languages spoken. We can’t wait to showcase our city’s unique culture to the world,she noted.


The World Cup will have a significant impact on the local economy and community, with opportunities for small businesses and minority-owned enterprises to get involved. Legacy projects include redeveloping EaDo (East Downtown) and providing new youth soccer opportunities.


Visitors can expect unique experiences showcasing Houston’s diversity and hospitality, with a focus on food, arts, and international vibe. Collaboration with local organizations and stakeholders is ongoing to ensure a successful tournament. Lessons learned from previous large-scale events, such as the MLB World Series and Super Bowl, have taught Houston to be prepared, flexible, and welcoming.

With its proven track record of hosting major events, Houston is ready to roll out the red carpet and welcome the world in 2026.

Other US cities pencilled to have a taste of the Mundial are Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

For Canada, matches will played in Toronto and Vancouver, whilst Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey will stage games in Mexico.

The tournament scheduled for 11 June to 19 July 2026 will be the first to be hosted in North America since 1994 with matches across 16 cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Credit: AIPS Media 

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