CINCINNATI — TQL Stadium will host a World Cup qualifying match on Nov. 12 between Team USA and Mexico, Mayor John Cranley announced Wednesday.
The rivalry game will provide a chance for the stadium, which opened in May, to prove its value as an athletic venue and a driver of the local economy. FC Cincinnati leadership has long insisted the $250 million project would uplift the West End neighborhood where they built it; nay-sayers have worried publicly about gentrification.
The simmering debate makes the match significant for more than just sports fans — but they're plenty excited, too.
“When you talk about great rivalries in our sport, USA-Mexico is one of the best,” U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We are fortunate to have so many great venue options in this country, and for this match Cincinnati ticks all the boxes. This is a special game that requires a special atmosphere, and we know it’s one that Cincinnati will provide.”
The game will be broadcast live on the ESPN and Univision family of networks.
Jackie Reau, a PR professional and member of a local organizing committee bidding to host the 2026 World Cup, said she expects the game to bring visitors from all over — and she expects those visitors to bring money.
"These games matter,” Reau said. “They're an economic driver for our hotels, our restaurants, our attractions. The timing of the match is terrific… give a little boost to the hotels, the restaurants as they go into the holiday season."
Sharon Norris, a longtime West End resident, was less enthusiastic. She's not a fan of the stadium, she said — since it was built, she's struggled more with parking and noise than before. A highly anticipated rivalry match probably won't help.
"They made a lot of promises before they started building this," she said of TQL. "Make life more livable. They haven't did it."
West End Community Council president Christopher Griffin disagreed. He believes the stadium and FC Cincinnati have improved the neighborhood, and he's excited for the just-announced game to bring out-of-town visitors to the community.
"I think it's a dope idea for our community to let them get more involved in soccer," he said. "It's going to be one of the biggest games that the US is hosting, the rivalry, Mexico-United States. And with it being in the West End, they can probably learn a little bit about our culture."
U.S. Soccer will be using a weighted random draw for tickets, placing prospective spectators in five eligible groups. FC Cincinnati season-ticket holders will be eligible to apply for tickets as members of group D, the fourth round of ticket selection.
Spectator hopefuls will have a better shot at landing tickets if they qualify as U.S. Soccer Insiders; the Insider tiers are outlined below: