SoFi Stadium’s position as a host venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup has been placed in further question, amid a report that the Los Angeles venue’s owner, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), is concerned over the terms of the deal.
The Athletic, citing multiple sources familiar with the talks, said tensions are rising between world football’s governing body and KSE, which also owns the Los Angeles Rams, one of the two NFL franchises that call SoFi Stadium home, along with the Chargers.
In June last year, FIFA decided on the 16 cities that will host the 2026 tournament but the exact schedule has not yet been confirmed. Back in March, FIFA confirmed a further expansion of the tournament by reverting back to the four-team group stage format.
SoFi Stadium had been considered one of the candidates to host the World Cup final, but it was reported in March that this could be ruled out due to its pitch being too narrow. It is since said to have been overtaken for the rights to the showpiece game by AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and MetLife Stadium, which houses the New York Giants and Jets.
The Athletic has said KSE is unhappy with the terms of the deal to host fixtures during the tournament, particularly in regards how revenue will be shared between FIFA, the cities and the stadiums.
Stadium owners are said to have hoped that upfront payments would be recouped via commercial assets such as sponsorship, ticketing, hospitality and matchday revenue, but KSE is believed to be concerned that these assets are yet to be fully determined.
The Athletic said KSE currently feels so strongly about the matter that it has threatened to withdraw from hosting World Cup matches altogether, unless the deal is renegotiated by FIFA.
The FIFA and FIFA26 experts leading key operational areas – from transport and stadium operations to hospitality and pitch management – came together on Wednesday in Miami to kick off a series of visits to each of the 16 host cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States.
FIFA said these visits are part of the “ongoing course of business” in the planning and preparation of the World Cup. The operational tour will be split into two parts and span several weeks, concluding in Vancouver in early November.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has also been in the US in recent days, attending the Cowboys’ game against the Jets at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. FIFA also said its officials and NFL leadership, including commissioner Roger Goodell, held “positive talks” during a meeting in New York.
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.”