Miami, FL Final Word on Football
The 2026 World Cup is less than four years away. With the United States, Mexico and Canada sharing hosting duties, there is a wide variety of cities that will host tournament matches. Mexico City and the Estadio Azteca will host matches for the third time. Many markets and venues will host World Cup matches for the first time. Let’s take a look at one of them, the city of Miami and the Hard Rock Stadium.
2026 World Cup host city preview: Miami, FL
Host City: Miami, Florida, United States
Stadium: Hard Rock Stadium at 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 29.3°C (84.7°F), low 26.8°C (80.2°F), humidity 73%, 19 rainy days
Local club teams: Inter Miami CF (MLS), The Miami FC (USL Championship)
History and importance of the place:
Hard Rock Stadium opened in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium, named after the founder of the Miami Dolphins. It has been the home of the NFL team ever since. It is the original home of the Miami Marlins of MLB and since 2008 has hosted the Miami Hurricanes in college football. Recent renovations reduced the capacity from its original 75,000 to 64,767. This renovation added a full roof system similar to the San Siro in Italy, as well as sophisticated video panels at the four corners of the upper levels. The rock has become a versatile international venue, hosting Super Bowls, major concerts and many international friendlies. Argentina beat Honduras 3-0 in a friendly match in September. The stadium was touted as a potential host for La Liga games abroad when this rumor first arose a few years ago.
It is 16 miles north of downtown Miami. Sportscasters regularly make the mistake of saying the game is in South Beach. Most tourists couldn’t find Miami Gardens on a Miami-Dad County map. Public transport isn’t great there, although parking around the stadium is adequate. Depending on whether international fans rent cars and drive, it could be fine. The traffic will probably be a mess. If you go to a game, block most if not all day. Arrive early and plan your transportation 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 plan to stay downtown/South Beach other than gambling, you can get by without a rental car. The World Cup is also four years away, so maybe we’ll have driverless all-electric carpooling by then.
The heat and sun will be there during the day, but don’t worry about it for the game. Recent stadium renovations included the installation of a roof that covers most of the seats. Unless it’s an early afternoon game, don’t worry. You will get used to the humidity in two or three days.
What this means for the city:
Full disclosure, I went to the University of Miami for my bachelor’s degree, so I’m biased. 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 north of Cuba. It has a rising downtown, South Beach which is popular with tourists, and several unique cultural districts. Travel enthusiasts will enjoy time at the beach or a summer vacation-style trip to Key West. If a Spanish-speaking country plays in Miami, this week will be a party. Imagine that fans from Brazil or Colombia invade Calle Ocho. It will be one of the most accessible US host cities for COMNEBOL fans. It won’t be cheap. But player temptations and sunburn threats aside, Miami should be an amazing host city.
What the city could look like in 2026:
Hosting the World Cup matches will make the summer vibe legendary for years to come for locals. It should also give a boost to MLS’s Inter Miami, who could have Messi by then. They should also have moved into their new stadium at Freedom Park. While Miami is 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 a recent pedigree when it comes to winning and supporting. Compared to other MLS markets with a large Latinx population, it’s not really a hotbed of young talent. It could be the boost the city, the local club team and a generation of young players need to make Miami a giant on the football landscape, both nationally and internationally. Let’s also hope that sea level rise or a major hurricane hasn’t caused major damage to the city in the next four years.
Miami will be an incredible World Cup host city. They are well located for fans from many countries. Local culture and diversity will create good vibes. The stadium has been modernized appropriately. Some general infrastructure improvements would be helpful, but are not a deal breaker. As long as the weather is nice, it will be a resounding success. Put an African or South American team in the group stage there, and the fan fest will be lit. ¡Azucar!
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