Houston billionaire to lead city’s bid for 2026 World Cup

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) –The bid to bring the World Cup to Houston in 2026 just got a billion-dollar backer.

The Houston Sports Authority and the Houston World Cup 2026 Bid Committee announced Thursday morning that Houston billionaire John Arnold is joining the committee as chairman.

Forbes lists Arnold’s net worth at $3.3 billion.

Arnold, 44, was a hedge fund manager, who once worked at Enron and earned the company a reported $750 million the year it went bankrupt.

He then built his own hedge fund company, Centaurus Advisors.

The Houston businessman might just be the perfect person to lead the charge in Houston’s quest to become a host city.

He’s been to every World Cup since 1994.

Houston has been in the running to be a host city for the event in 2026 since last March, when 23 cities, including 17 in the United States, were chosen to be included in bid documents submitted to FIFA.

A few months later in June, FIFA voters overwhelmingly decided that North America will host the World Cup, with games to be played across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“Our committee plans to leave no stone unturned in the appointment of our new chairman. I’m excited to be working with him on this very important project and look forward to getting the pieces in place and building a winning bid,” said the President of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Chris Canetti.

Canetti was the president of the Houston Dynamo and the Houston Dash for 13 seasons. He resigned from the role near the end of 2018 before joining the city’s World Cup bid committee.

Newly-elected Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was also on hand for the announcement, along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

“Houston is a world class sports city and we have a proven record hosting major events,” Turner said. “We are bringing on a great captain and a true leader to help guide our bid committee and that person is none other than John Arnold.”

Also known for his philanthropy, Arnold spearheads the Laura and John Arnold Foundation with his wife, having been actively involved in criminal justice reform and health care.

City leaders also announced that the US Men’s National Team will play Chile at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 26.


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