The world’s tallest building became the world’s largest scoreboard this year – beginning with the semifinals, every World Cup goal and final score were illuminated on the Burj Khalifa. The Burj has become a beacon for so many things – L.E.D. fireworks on New Years Eve, light shows nightly, and now scoreboard for the world’s most watched sporting event.
I am not a big sports fan. Sure, being from Atlanta (USA) I love the Braves, the Falcons, the Hawks, and now ATLANTA UNITED (our new, much loved soccer team) – but I would rarely see games in person and even more rarely watch them on television. So perhaps it is not a big surprise that I had no clue what the World Cup was really about and had never watched it before. I had some vague notion that it had to do with what we Americans call “soccer” and which the rest of the world calls “football”; but beyond that I was clueless.
But now that we live in Dubai, I “get” it. The World Cup is HUGE here. In this true melting pot of nationalities, we all know at least one, and usually multiple people from the participating countries (in fact, I know dozens of people here from France & England… and even a few from Croatia and Belgium). This makes the World Cup even more personal and fun to watch in a crowd.
I am amazed the United States and Canada were not even in the World Cup AT ALL this year – compare my amazement to my ignorance about the World Cup just a few short months ago. But what I see in the World Cup is what I see in the Olympics – a chance for people from all over the world to cheer on their countrymates but also get a small glimpse into other parts of the Globe. A chance for nations to interact without rancor (well, for the most part) in a harmless and even uplifting way.
And I am VERY EXCITED that the World Cup is coming to the U.S. in 2026 – and hopefully to our hometown, Atlanta.
“The World Cup is the greatest celebration of human togetherness in sport anywhere on the planet…. Passion and togetherness bind us together and help us to grow. In these challenging times events such as the FIFA World Cup remind us what we have in common, rather than what divides us.”
From the winning Bid Book bringing the 2026 games to the USA, Mexico, and Canada