New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, center, and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, right, stand for a photograph during ceremonies held to introduce Boston Soccer 2026's local branding for the 2026 World Cup, Thursday, May 18, 2023, in Boston. Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., is one of 16 venues in the United States, Mexico and Canada tapped to host soccer matches for the international sporting event. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

By STEVE LeBLANC Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Top sports officials including New England Patriots owner Jonathan Kraft joined with Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey and others Thursday to celebrate the state’s participation in the 2026 World Cup and to help unveil Boston Soccer 2026’s local branding efforts.

Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is one of 16 venues in the United States, Mexico and Canada tapped to host soccer matches for the international sporting event.

Backers of the event say it could bring in hundreds of millions in economic benefits to the region while drawing more than 400,000 visitors. The last time the greater Boston area took part in a World Cup was in 1994.

“This is super, super exciting,” Healey said. “We’re going to make the most of this opportunity.”

Kraft owns Gillette Stadium through his Kraft Sports Group. The Kraft family also owns the New England Revolution.

Kraft said Gillette should host at least six matches. He also said the World Cup will highlight Boston’s role on the global stage and bring together fans from around the world.

Each of the 16 host cities has their own branding and logo.

Boston’s logo and branding incorporates some familiar elements of the city including the cobblestones used to create streets in Boston’s early days and the Zakim Bridge, as well as a green, blue and orange color palette.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the 2026 event will be the fourth time Boston has helped host the World Cup.

“Today we continue to be made richer, stronger, more vibrant and more connected by the communities from around the world who call this place home,” she said. “So it only makes sense that for the fourth time the world’s game will return to the city of the world.”

Kansas City, another of the 16 cities tapped to host World Cup matches, on Thursday announced the formation of KC2026, a nonprofit organization overseeing strategy and delivering host city duties for the World Cup.

“We couldn’t be more excited to host the FIFA World Cup,” Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said. “This means even more infrastructure investment, business development, talent recruitment and economic growth for Kansas City.”

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