SoFi Stadium's position as one of the arenas for the 2026 World Cup is uncertain following reports that the Los Angeles venue's owner, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, is concerned about the terms of their agreement with FIFA.
World Cup without SoFi Stadium?
The Athletic, citing multiple sources familiar with the talks, reported that tensions are growing between world football's governing body and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), which also owns the Los Angeles Rams, one of the two NFL teams for which SoFi Stadium is a home venue. The other is the LA Chargers.
In June last year, FIFA selected 16 cities to host the 2026 tournament, but the exact schedule has not yet been confirmed. In March, FIFA confirmed a further expansion of the tournament, returning to a four-team group stage format.
© Kevin C. Korczyk, AECOM
SoFi Stadium has been considered as one of the candidates to host the World Cup final, but it was reported in March that this might not be possible due to the venue's too narrow main pitch. It has since been said to have been overtaken by AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and Jets.
The Athletic reported that KSE is unhappy with the terms of the contract to host games at the tournament, particularly with regard to how revenue is shared between FIFA, cities and stadiums. The venue owners are said to have hoped that upfront payments would be recovered through commercial assets such as sponsorship, ticket sales, hospitality and match day revenues, but the KSE is concerned that these assets have not yet been fully identified.
The Athletic reported that KSE is now so heavily involved that it has threatened to pull out of hosting World Cup matches altogether unless FIFA renegotiates the deal. FIFA and FIFA26 experts in charge of key operational areas - from transport and stadium operations to hospitality services and pitch management - met in Miami last Wednesday to begin a series of visits to each of the 16 host cities in Canada, Mexico and the United States.
FIFA said the visits are part of "ongoing course of business" related to World Cup planning and preparation. The operational tour will be split into two parts and will last several weeks, ending in Vancouver in early November.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been in the US in recent days, attending Sunday's Cowboys v Jets game at AT&T Stadium. FIFA also said that its representatives and NFL executives, including commissioner Roger Goodell, had "positive talks" during the meeting in New York.
FIFA and the host committee reassure
When contacted by The Athletic, FIFA said:
We have a strong working relationship with LA and all our 16 host committees, and have been working hand-in-hand on the details of delivering an unforgettable and unprecedented FIFA World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in 2026. If you think about the size and scale of the largest single-sporting event in the world, the work involved in successfully delivering such an event for all fans and stakeholders is a massive undertaking. We continue to enjoy an open and productive dialogue on all elements of our collaboration.
The Los Angeles FIFA World Cup Host Committee added:
We are proud to be the Los Angeles Host Committee for the FIFA World Cup 2026. Since being announced as a host city, we have been working closely with FIFA on many aspects of the event. The information you have shared does not accurately reflect the content of those ongoing, collaborative conversations. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is an invaluable partner for Los Angeles. Besides having the premiere venue in the world, KSE continues to provide incredible support to our committee. With KSE as a partner, Los Angeles will deliver to the highest standard on the world stage.