The 2026 World Cup is less than four years away. With the United States, Mexico, and Canada sharing hosting duties, there’s a wide variety of cities that will host games in the tournament. Mexico City and the Estadio Azteca will be hosting games for the third time. Many markets and venues will be hosting World Cup games for the first time. Let’s take a look at one of those, the city of Miami and Hard Rock Stadium.
Previewing the 2026 World Cup Host Cities: Miami, FL
Host City: Miami, Florida, United States
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens
Stadium capacity: 65,326
Population: 461,080 (City of Miami, 2020) / 2.706 million (Miami-Dade County, 2020)
Airports: Miami International Airport / Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
June weather averages: High 84.7°F (29.3°C), low 80.2°F (26.8°C), 73% humidity, 19 days of rainfall
Local Club Teams: Inter Miami CF (MLS), The Miami FC (USL Championship)
History and Significance of the Venue:
Hard Rock Stadium opened in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium, named after the founder of the Miami Dolphins. It’s been the home of the NFL team every since. It’s the original home of the MLB’s Miami Marlins and since 2008 has hosted the Miami Hurricanes in college football. Recent renovations have reduced the capacity from its original 75,000 down to 64,767. That renovation added a full roof system similar to the San Siro in Italy, as well as fancy video boards in the four corners in the upper levels. The Rock has become a versatile international venue, hosting Super Bowls, major concerts, and numerous international friendlies. Argentina beat Honduras 3-0 in a friendly back in September. The stadium was floated as a potential host for La Liga games abroad when that rumor happened a few years ago.
It is 16 miles north of downtown Miami. Sports broadcasters regularly make the mistake of saying the game is happening in South Beach. Most tourists couldn’t find Miami Gardens on a map of Miami-Dad County. The public transit there is not great, though parking around the stadium is sufficient. Depending on if international fans are renting cars and driving, it could be ok. The traffic will probably be a mess. If you’re going to a game, block out most if not all the day. Get there early and have your transportation planned out well in advance. For a city of its size, the Metrorail and Metromover are pretty decent. The Metrorail goes to the airport and if you’re planning to stay in the downtown/South Beach area other than the game, you can get by without a rental car. The World Cup is also four years away, so maybe we’ll have driverless all-electric rideshare by then.
The heat and sun will be something during the day, but don’t worry about it for the game. The recent renovations of the stadium included installing a roof that covers most of the seats. Unless it’s an early afternoon game, don’t worry about it. You’ll get used to the humidity within two or three days.
What it Means for the City:
Full disclosure, I went to the University of Miami for my bachelors degree, so I have some biases. Miami is a diverse and international city that LOVES to party. It has a very strong Latin and South American influence. There’s a joke that Miami isn’t in Florida, it’s in North Cuba. It has a growing high rise downtown, South Beach which is popular with tourists, and several cultural unique neighborhoods. Traveling fans will enjoy beach time or a summer vacation-like trip to Key West. If any Spanish speaking country plays games in Miami, that week is going to be a party. Imagine Brazil or Columbia fans taking over Calle Ocho. It will be one of the easiest American host cities for COMNEBOL fans to get to. It will not be cheap. But other than temptations for the players and threats of sunburn, Miami should be an amazing host city.
What the City Could be Like in 2026:
Hosting World Cup games will make the summer vibes a legendary story for years to come to locals. It should give a boost to MLS side Inter Miami as well, who could have Messi by then. They should have moved into their new stadium at Freedom Park as well. While Miami’s a great beach and party city, it’s not necessarily known as a sports or soccer city. The Miami Heat are the only team with an recent pedigree when it comes to winning and support. Compared to other MLS markets with a strong Latinx population, it’s not really a hotbed of youth talent. This could be the boost the city, the local club team, and a generation of youth players need to turn Miami into a giant in the soccer landscape, domestically and internationally. Also hopefully sea level rise or a major hurricane haven’t done any significant damage to the city in the next four years.
Miami will be an amazing World Cup host city. They’re well located for fans from many countries. The local culture and diversity will make for great vibes. The stadium has been appropriately upgraded. Some improvements to the general infrastructure would help but aren’t a deal breaker. As long as the weather’s nice, it will be a rousing success. Put one African or South American team in the group stage there, and the fan fest will be lit. ¡Azúcar!