Cincinnati Bids for FIFA World Cup

Cincinnati top contender to host 2026 FIFA World Cup!

Canada, Mexico, and the United States are bidding to host the 48-team 2026 FIFA World Cup. Cincinnati is among 18 cities in North America to make the short list to serve as a Host City for the world’s largest and most watched sporting event.

A delegation from FIFA World Cup will visit Cincinnati on Friday, October 22nd and take a closer look at our bid. Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will attend the bid briefing. We should know by early 2022 if we are selected. Cincinnati has a lot going for it:

  • Location: Cincinnati is near 60% of the U.S. population by car or air travel.
  • Fans: Cincinnati has a growing soccer fan base and a big youth soccer community.
  • World class stadia: Paul Brown Stadium would host the matches, while team facilities are available at TQL Stadium, FC Cincinnati’s Mercy Health Training Complex, and local universities such as Mt. Saint Joseph, Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, and the University of Cincinnati.
  • Hotel rooms: There are more than 25,000 hotel rooms in the Cincinnati area with 3,000+ first-class rooms near Paul Brown Stadium.

Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup could generate more than $5 billion in short-term economic activity and be put Cincinnati on the global map as a premier soccer and tourist destination.

Join the Street Festival at 2:00 pm and visit for more on how you can support the 2026 Cincy bid. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news on the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Government Strategies Group is proud to provide government relations and development services for FC Cincinnati as our region comes together for this bid. 

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Anne C. Sesler

Director of Public Affairs

Anne Sesler brings more than twenty years’ experience in public affairs consulting to Government Strategies Group. Anne works with local elected officials, state legislators, reporters and community leaders on behalf of corporate and non-profit clients developing community outreach and engagement strategies, conducts media relations, builds grassroots support for projects, and conducts communication with stakeholders and legislators.

Anne lends her public policy and political communication experience beyond GSG to her role as Vice Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Over the years, she’s offered political counsel to both state and local campaigns, including Preschool Promise, Ohio Jobs and Growth (the casino ballot initiative), United for Jobs and Ohio’s Future (Third Frontier), and many others. Anne lives in Mt. Lookout with her husband, Bryan.

Focus areas: 

  • Local government relations
  • Coalition building
  • Media relations and communications
  • Crisis communications

Driven by:

  • Making Cincinnati a better place for all

In the community:

  • Leadership Cincinnati Class 47
  • Cincinnati Planning Commission member
  • Lunken Airport Oversight and Advisory Board Chair
  • Cincinnati Democratic Committee Co-Chair
  • Hamilton County Democratic Party, Vice Chair
  • Mt. Lookout Community Council member

Charles “Chip” Gerhardt

President & CEO

Chip Gerhardt has made government affairs, economic development, and issue advocacy his life’s work. He’s worked for decades in the public and private sectors, and advocated at the local, state, and federal levels of government. In 2007, he used that experience to found Government Strategies Group, a full-service government relations firm. At GSG, he works directly with clients, helping them navigate the complicated intersection of politics, public policy, and business.

In his many years in public policy, Chip has been involved in significant policies including; creation of tax increment financing districts, the Clean Ohio program, Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, and most importantly, the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. He has also been at the forefront of some of the biggest developments in Greater Cincinnati, including the Horseshoe (now Hard Rock) Casino, TQL Stadium for FC Cincinnati, parking garage structures at The Banks, and the redevelopment of the @580 building. Rarely is there a public policy endeavor in Cincinnati that does not involve GSG.

Chip received his B.B.A in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law. He lives in Anderson Township with his wife Jane. Son Charlie is a local chef and children Hank and Anne have completed their education and started lives of their own.

Focus areas:

  • State and local government relations
  • Economic development
  • Issue advocacy

Driven by:

  • A lifelong interest in the political system has driven Chip to a career in public policy and politics. As a parent of three, one with Down syndrome, has compelled him to promote public policies designed to help others. Whether it is enabling financial independence for people with disabilities, advancing funding for housing families facing homelessness, or assisting with economic development projects, Chip involves himself in things that make a positive difference. 

In the community:

  • Hamilton County Board of Elections member
  • Current Board Member for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, People Working Cooperatively, Corporation for Findlay Market, goVibrant, and the African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Chairman of the Board for the National Down Syndrome Society
  • Former board member of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati Magazine’s 300 of the Region’s Most Powerful Business Leaders, 2021-2022
  • Cincy Magazine Power 100, 2011-2022