The 2026 World Cup was announced June 13, 2018. The much-awaited announcement declared that the United Bid - a combined bid from the US, Mexico, and Canada - had won, cementing a 2026 World Cup in North America. The United Bid denied Morocco the chance to host The ‘Cup by winning a vote of 134 to 65 by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body. The locations are still in flux, but the World Cup is coming to North America.
But 2026 feels like a lifetime away. So why are we talking about it now?
Major world events take years to plan and execute. So businesses need to position themselves now to get in on the multitude of opportunities before it's too late.
As exciting as the sporting event is for fans, it also brings excitement in the form of opportunities for businesses. Let’s take a look at what that means for you, a small business owner.
World Cup History, by Economic Impact
In a 2010 presentation from FIFA, the organization breaks down the historical economic impact of the 2006 German World Cup, and details their forward-facing look at managing economic opportunities within South Africa’s 2010 hosting of the World Cup. Though the numbers are dated, they offer insight into the potential impact of the 2026 World Cup.
- Overall financial impact in Germany: 2.86 Billion Euro (3.31 Billion USD)
- Direct tax income generated in Germany: 104 Million Euro (120 Million USD)
- 50,000 additional employments during the 8 months before and during the event
- German GDP boosted by 0.3%
Yes, I know. It’s great to hear about what happened in the past. But what about 2026? Can it hold the same value for North America?
Anticipated World Cup Economic Growth
The World Cup Study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2018 for United States Soccer Federation details the anticipated impact on the North American economy. In short, the numbers are similar to the 2006 German example, proving that sustainment and economic influx will cont dinue moving forward.
BCG, a leading global management consulting firm, detailed that growth.
- $5 billion in total short-term economic activity
- The overall net benefit to the region would be $3 – $4 billion, after calculation and deduction of event costs.
- 40,000 jobs created
- More than $1 billion in incremental worker earnings across North America
- Individual host cities could expect to see approximately $160 - $620 million in incremental economic activity
- A net benefit of approximately $90 - $480 million per city after costs
Small Business Opportunities During the 2026 World Cup
The 2010 FIFA presentation mentioned earlier outlines key areas they expect growth and upticks in hiring during the 2010 games. 2026 should be no different.
- Events, functions, and activities
In addition, FIFA noted three key areas that will benefit diverse suppliers:
- Products sourced llocally
- Staff sourced locally
- Imported products remain in country
Once again, the future is mimicking the past. According to BusinessWire, the 2022 Qatari World Cup has similarly targeted business opportunities for small businesses. Four years out, and the Qatar business industries have already started issuing Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Quotes (RFQs) to support the games. An estimated $80 billion in projects, both direct and ancillary to the World Cup, has already been solicited. These industries run the gamut, but include the industries already mentioned, and:
- Hospitality & tourism
- Transportation, both into and around the country
- Water, electricity, sewerage
- Construction and infrastructure
Major corporations, many of whom have their own developed supplier diversity initaitives, are exploring investment and business opportunities for the Qatar event. These include:
The Qatari government is spearheading many of the infrastructure and construction projects, just as the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States will do for the 2026 Cup.
Our advice: Try to connect with major corporations through diverse supplier registration portals, as well as FIFA World Cup sponsors (announced closer to the event date). Being first in line has its perks!
Other Ways Small Businesses Can Prepare for The World Cup
The announcement was just released, but there’s still a lot you can do to set your business up for success.
- Determine what you can offer, who you can offer it to, and when opportunities are likely to be posted.
- Develop a strategy to submit and win bids.
- Monitor the World Cup website.
- Connect with World Cup Sponsors.
- Find current and future World Cup Contractors. Look big and small. All size businesses utilize subcontracting opportunities, and this can be your in.
- Follow up to see what cities will host the games. Follow the city, county, state, and federal websites, where many infrastructure and government opportunities will be posted.
If you are a for Minority-Owned (MBE), Woman-Owned (WBE), Veteran-Owned (VBE), or LGBT-Owned (LGBTE) business enterprise located in North America, 2026 is your chance. Government agencies and corporations will be looking for small and diverse-owned businesses to bolster their supplier diversity programs and their economic impact. Plan now for your future success.
And remember. If sports are your thing, the World Cup is not the only opportunity to get in on the action. The Super Bowl, another massive sporting event, has its own supplier diversity initiative called Business Connect. The opportunities are endless.While it is a while away, it’s important to be prepared and be ahead of your competition. You can bet that soccer players are already training for 2026. When will you get in the game?