Host City: What are the expected benefits of hosting FIFA World Cup 2026 in Baltimore?
Terry Hasseltine: To show off Baltimore in the brightest light featuring a world cup soccer event would be invaluable for the city of Baltimore. Local residents would see just how special Charm City is and its capabilities of hosting an event of this magnitude. Restaurants would be booming with local as well as out of town visitors wanting to stay close to all the action, from the FIFA Fan Fest to all the other events that will take place in the Inner Harbor and its surrounding areas. Soccer fanatics across the globe will realize that with Baltimore’s rich history, fine arts scene, as well as sports culture and exciting nightlife, this is “The Baltimore you’re missing.”
Host City: Is Maryland looking to bid for other major international events, and why?
Terry Hasseltine: Maryland is continuously looking for international event opportunities to grow national and international awareness for our state and major cities. With four international airports in close proximity, major highways and the Amtrak, Maryland is easily accessible for all to travel. It is also important to us to have visitors and tourists travel here and experience Maryland for themselves. Within a short drive, one can visit our nation’s capital, the Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Ocean and much more.
Host City: How important is it to host national sports events, e.g. NCAA tournaments, MLS?
Terry Hasseltine: Very important. From 2019-2022, the NCAA DI (and DIII for 2021) Women’s Lacrosse Championships will be held at Johns Hopkins University as well as Towson University. This draws fans, parents and family from around the nation to our state for several days. We want to create a positive and impactful experience for all to make visitors want to come back each year we host the event.
Host City: What part does hosting major non-sports events play in Maryland’s economic development strategy?
Terry Hasseltine: Hosting non-sports events plays a huge role in Maryland’s economic development strategy. Events such as Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival, attracting over 350,000+ attendees over three days draws a significant number of visitors to Baltimore and its surrounding areas. Air Force Service Shows that highlight the Blue Angels and others are large tourism draws for military. Several food and beverage festivals are taking place through downtown Baltimore, Annapolis and other cities that tourists and visitors travel to from out-of-state. This means generated hotel revenue, tourists in our local shops and restaurants, as well as exploring the area positively, making them want to come back in the future.
Host City: How important is it for you to learn from other cities about best practice in hosting major events?
Terry Hasseltine: It is crucial to explore other cities’ major events in order to make our events throughout the state successful. Attending and playing a role in another city’s event can give us the behind-the-scenes knowledge and first-hand experiences for what is successful and what is not, dependent on the area, for our events. The best way to learn is through experiences and conversations with other destinations and venues, which is an important tool we use when attracting major events to Baltimore and the State of Maryland.