Skip to main content
News

Levi’s Stadium to host 6 games at 2026 World Cup, but not the U.S. National Team

A soccer match in progress, viewed from behind the goal, with players on the field and a crowded stadium in the background.
Santa Clara will host both a Super Bowl and World Cup in 2026, but the area could still be a massive construction site by then. | Source: Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a star-studded show that included Drake, Kevin Hart and the world’s “most famous soccer mom,” Kim Kardashian, FIFA revealed its schedule for the 2026 World Cup. 

The San Francisco Bay Area, one of 16 locations across North America chosen to host soccer matches for the tournament, will get a total of six games, world soccer’s governing body announced on Sunday.

When the tournament arrives in the region that summer, the games will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The venue will host five games in the group stage and one elimination game in the Round of 32. 

This will be the first World Cup since FIFA expanded the competition from 32 to 48 nations and the first time that games will be hosted in the United States since 1994. During that event, Stanford Stadium was used as a match venue.

Despite a record 72 matches to be played during the group stage between June 11-27, the U.S. Men’s National Team opted not to play any games in the Bay Area. 

Instead, the team has chosen to take the field at the newly constructed SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles twice, as well as play one game at Lumen Field in Seattle. However, that doesn’t mean Levi’s Stadium is completely out of the picture. Should the U.S. make it out of their group, they could play a do-or-die game there on July 1. 

“This event generates global fandom, viewership and visitors unlike any other,” Bay Area Host Committee President and CEO Zaileen Janmohamed said in a statement. “We believe that hosting these matches will have an unprecedented tangible and intangible positive impact on the Bay Area, and we can’t wait to bring this to life for the Bay in 2026.”

Games to be played at Levi’s Stadium will take place on the following dates: June 13, June 16, June 19, June 22, June 25 and July 1. 

A group of smiling young adults pose together, dressed in fashionable, shiny outfits at an outdoor event.
Events at Levi's Stadium bring millions of visitors to Santa Clara every year, but the lack of a downtown core means attendees usually don't stay for long. | Source: Dan Fenstermacher for The Standard

Surrounded by Construction?

Santa Clara officials were hoping the city's new makeshift downtown would be ready by then—the year the city gets both a Super Bowl and World Cup in the same calendar year. 

But at a sit down with local business leaders and real estate developers last week, Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor admitted that construction for the city’s first-ever downtown core, directly across the street from Levi’s Stadium, would most likely not be completed by 2026. 

That means the year the city hosts millions of visitors from all around the world, they are likely to be greeted by cranes, beams and gigantic pits of dirt instead of retail and restaurants, which would have brought much-needed sales tax revenue.

“Millions of people come to our city every year for events, but they leave right after,” Gillmor said at the event hosted by The Silicon Valley Business Journal

New York-based developer the Related Companies is leading the massive 9.2 million square feet project, which was greenlighted before the pandemic. It includes building 1,680 new homes, 700 hotel rooms, a city center and light industrial, advanced manufacturing buildings. 

The project was supposed to be well underway by now but has yet to even break ground because of delays.

Kevin V. Nguyen can be reached at knguyen@sfstandard.com