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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Sept. 27, 2023

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Seattle’s logo for the 2026 men’s World Cup unveiled atop Space Needle


SEATTLE — Seattle was formally branded a FIFA men’s World Cup city Thursday.

Local dignitaries gathered with the organizing committee to unfurl the official logo atop the Space Needle. Familiar green and blue hues used for the Sounders, Seahawks and Mariners are the backdrop for the No. 26 — the digits stacked on each other — and the tournament’s golden trophy at the forefront with the wording “FIFA” and “Seattle” below. Vibrant green and purple are also part of the branding, those being nods to the color of an unroasted coffee bean and purple to represent Seattle’s leadership in technology and innovation.

The global tournament will take place in summer 2026 and is the biggest version in FIFA history. Seattle is one of 16 cities across Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that will host a combined 104 matches featuring 48 nations, which is an increase from the 32 that participated last winter in Qatar.

FIFA unveiled the branding Wednesday in Los Angeles. Soccer’s governing body permitted each city to add a personal touch to their spinoff. The Seattle FIFA World Cup 26 team sought ways to showcase unity.

“It’s really important what we leave behind,” said Peter Tomozawa, who’s CEO of SeattleFWC26. The group was known as SEA 2026 during the city’s campaign to bring the event to Seattle.

“Our legacy is going to be based upon what I call the three Cs,” Tomozawa continued, noting the Space Needle is a relic of the 1962 World’s Fair. “Community, culture and children. It’s going to be a people-based legacy is what we’re hoping for. What that looks like will be helped to find together with our communities.”

To demonstrate Tomozawa’s aim, members of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Tribal Council provided a land recognition before the logo reveal. Also part of the ceremony on the slender observations deck were OL Reign national team hopefuls Alana Cook (U.S.) and Jordyn Huitema (Canada) who could play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer, business leaders, Gov. Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and a host of U.S. men’s national team members from Sounders stars Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan to legends Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann.

“It’s really exciting to see it all coming to fruition,” said Morris, who was part of the USMNT roster with Roldan in Qatar. The host countries automatically qualified for the 2026 tournament. “There’s just a buzz and an excitement around the team, especially coming off the last World Cup heading into the next one and having it at home. It’s just incredibly exciting.”

Beth Knox, president of the Seattle Sports Commission, said the city is going to lean on the planning for the MLB All-Star Game in Seattle this July as infrastructure for the World Cup, although the soccer tournament is a monthlong affair. FIFA’s west coast host cities — San Francisco Bay Area, L.A., Vancouver and Guadalajara — regularly meet to share ideas, too.

SeattleFWC26’s next phase is upgrading Lumen Field to be the site for the World Cups matches, including the instillation of natural grass. The committee is also scouting space for training-field sites to be used by national teams. The Sounders said they remain on track to open their new facility at Longacres in Renton by January 2024, which Tomozawa said will likely be used by a World Cup national team.

Another focus is the fan festival SeattleFWC26 wants to hold along the new waterfront downtown. Tomozawa was part of small group that traveled to Qatar for the tournament and admired their new waterfront park that was also used for the Fox network’s broadcast of the matches.

Seattle’s 20-acre waterfront park, which will link Pike Place Market with the shoreline, is scheduled to open in 2025.

“We expect 2026 to be the coronation,” Tomozawa said. “The real event that will really open it up to the whole world.”

As for tangible events leading up to 2026, the Sounders and Reign doubleheader against Cascadia rival Portland Timbers and Thorns FC on June 3 is the official send-off for the women’s national team players. SeattleFWC26 will be present as part of the festivities.

For a limited time, the Reign and Sounders are offering tickets to matches at Lumen this month and June 3 for $20.26.