Miami-Dade cuts World Cup funding by $10.5 million

Written by Richard Battin on May 21, 2024


Miami-Dade cuts World Cup funding by $10.5 million

After halving the amount of money the county would donate to Miami-Dade County's 2026 World Cup games, commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday to support the Greater Miami Sports Commission in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The cut of more than $10 million was not discussed at the meeting.

Commissioner Daniele Cohen Higgins voted against the resolution, saying in a written statement after the meeting, “While I welcome the amendment reducing the cash contribution by half and am aware of the immense economic impact this event would have on our county, I cannot support this item for several reasons.” One of those reasons, she wrote, was the lack of a “breakdown of where and how the money would be spent.”

The resolution provides $10.5 million in county funds, up from $21 million, $25 million in in-kind contributions and $3 million in matching funds for a 2026 FIFA World Cup legacy project in the fiscal years 2024-2025 and 2025-2026. Another $100 million is expected from the private sector, said Rodney Barreto, chairman of Miami's FIFA committee.

So what does Miami-Dade have to gain from all these millions?

“I like to break it down differently,” said commission chairman Oliver G. Gilbert III.

“Every hotel room in Miami Beach and Miami will be occupied. Every hotel room in Coral Gables will be occupied. All hotels and motels will be full. Every restaurant will be full. Everyone will be in an Uber. Everyone will spend money in our stores.”

“We expect more than 700,000 visitors to South Florida,” Mr. Barreto said, “dining in our restaurants, staying in our hotels, using all of our services and spending their money in our community.” The economic benefit to the community is significant. “

“We've never done anything this big,” he said. Mr. Barreto was chairman of the 2020 Miami Super Bowl committee.

“In terms of actual dollar amounts, the Super Bowl was a single event and we had an economic impact on the community of $572 million. But that’s seven games,” he added. “It’s like seven Super Bowls.”

“Even if you just multiply it by three,” he said, “it’s more than $1.5 billion.”

The tournament will take place from June 11th to July 19th, 2026. It is co-hosted by 16 cities in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States. The tournament will be the first hosted by three nations and the first North American World Cup since 1994. The defending champions are Argentina.

Seven games will be played in Miami, including a quarterfinal game and a third-place game. 104 games take place in the five-week period.

Association football, known as soccer in the US, is the most popular sport in the world, with around 4 billion fans worldwide. In contrast, the NFL has an estimated global fan base of 180 million, according to

A Miami host committee led by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who publicly questioned the level of county spending on the event before the meeting, will spread the word throughout South Florida.

The committee also includes Broward County Mayor Nan Rich, Palm Beach County Mayor Maria Sachs, Monroe County Mayor Holly Merrill Raschein, Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner and State Senator and Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation to Chairwoman Ana Maria Rodriguez.

Around 455,000 fans can enter the stadium to watch the games.

“The benefit to this community is almost priceless,” Mr. Barreto said, “when you think about being on the global stage.”

Anna Harden

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