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Published on July 10, 2024
California Anticipates Over $1 Billion Economic Surge from 2026 World Cup, with Los Angeles and Bay Area at the ForefrontSource: Andre m, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

California is poised to receive a significant financial boost from the 2026 World Cup, with a projection of over $1 billion in economic activity spreading across the state. The expected surge, anchored in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, will come thanks to the international soccer tournament attracting hundreds of thousands of fans and tourists, as reported by the Governor’s office.

Los Angeles alone is gearing up for an estimated $594 million jolt to its economy, hosting eight matches and expecting an influx of 180,000 visitors. These tourists, according to Micronomics Economic Research and Consulting, tend to spend an average of $2,350 each during their stay, translating to a quarter of a billion in increased wages across various industries. "In 2026, Los Angeles County – powered by 10 million Angelenos with roots from all over the world – will showcase our diversity and strength to the global community, providing an unparalleled home to eight World Cup matches, including USA’s opening match," Governor Gavin Newsom said, in a statement that echoes through the Governor's office and Micronomics report.

Senator Padilla highlighted the overarching benefits for California, asserting that regional development and local businesses will thrive under the World Cup’s umbrella, "That means more local jobs and more money spent at local businesses," he told the Los Angeles World Cup committee. The report further stipulates LA County will garner approximately $35 million in additional tax revenue, expected to outweigh the governmental expenditure linked to event operation.

Apart from immediate economic uptake, long-term benefits are also forecasted. The tournament amplifies Los Angeles' global exposure which is projected to usher in an additional $230.4 million in future tourism. "The surge in tourism connected to the FIFA World Cup 26 will be felt by the entire region, creating demand for local businesses, accelerating the need for job training and hiring, and serving as a lasting catalyst for economic activity in our hospitality, transportation, retail and entertainment sectors," Kathryn S. Schloessman, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, conveyed in her statement to stakeholders. The City of Inglewood, hosting at the SoFi Stadium, is expected to land north of $17 million in economic benefits, sharing in the larger vision for California's economic windfall.

All eyes will be on California in 2026, as it stands to host the world's most-watched sporting event while setting the stage for even more vibrant future happenings, such as the Olympics in 2028. As L.A. Mayor Karen Bass put it, "In two short years we will be ready to welcome the world to the Los Angeles region for the world's most watched sporting event, but also to experience the diverse food, culture, and history that defines our region." Her remarks to the Los Angeles World Cup committee emphasize not just an event, but an invitation to the world to partake in the richness that is Los Angeles and California. Planning and preparation continue, with the aim to create an experience that will resonate with visitors, ignite local economies, and showcase the city's indomitable spirit for years to come.