County faces $10m stadium renovations for World Cup bid

CINCINNATI (WXIX) — The Queen City will learn in less than a month whether we will be a host site for the 2026 World Cup, but hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world will come at a cost.

FIFA intends to announce the host venues at a press conference in New York on June 16, according to the Cincy 2026 Local Organizing Committee.

The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners now has until Thursday to decide whether to approve the stadium authority agreement drawn up by FIFA.

FIFA set out some requirements in a 250-page document given to commissioners over the weekend. Among the demands are $10 million in upgrades and modifications to Paul Brown Stadium, where a potential game would take place.

The commissioners also received an economic impact study estimating that hosting a World Cup game would bring about $480 million to the region and $4 million in tax revenue to the county.

But during Tuesday’s presentation, Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas said she was concerned about the total upfront cost to the county.

Dumas says she would like to see language in the FIFA contract outlining the limits of financial requirements and commitments.

Cincinnati is one of 17 US cities vying to be a World Cup host city. Ten of the 17 will be chosen in the United States, while the remaining cities will be in Mexico and Canada. Cincinnati and Kansas City are the only two cities in the Midwest competing for a spot.

Local officials including the Organizing Committee as well as Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine rolled out the red carpet for FIFA representatives last year.

The United States men’s national team faced the Mexico national team a month later in a 2022 World Cup qualifier seen as a small-scale test for Cincinnati’s viability.

A World Cup bid for Cincinnati could create around 40,000 jobs in the region, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s leading management consulting firms. The Cincy LOC’s estimate is much lower, saying they believe 3,086 jobs would be created across the three states if Cincinnati were chosen to host.

A potential problem with Cincinnati’s bid is the lack of a convention center hotel after the demolition of the much-maligned Millenium last year.

3CDC is spearheading a collaborative city-county effort to redevelop the Convention Center area, including the construction of an 800-room hotel in the 4th Street parking lot south of the Convention Center.

3CDC chief executive Steve Leeper told the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners last month that he hoped to have the project available to national hotel brands and developers by the end of the year, with a deadline. possible completion at the end of 2025.

The cost is expected to be around $360 million for the hotel alone, with the convention center redevelopment adding another $100 million. So far, no funding mechanism has been put in place.

Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners have agreed to appoint 3CDC to oversee the redevelopment of the Convention Center District with the specific intent of expediting a long-delayed process ahead of the World Cup.

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