After the jubilation of Seattle being chosen as one of the 16 North American locations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, now comes the hard part—getting the city ready for it.

Soccer’s biggest event is also the biggest sporting event in the world. The World Cup is watched by one billion people across the globe. It’s 14% bigger than the Olympics in audience size, and six times the size of the Super Bowl’s 175 million viewers.

Fortunately, Seattle has a major sporting event veteran heading up the efforts. Sounders FC minority owner Peter Tomozawa, who played a significant role in the city’s pitch to FIFA, had previously worked with the LA 2024/2028 Exploratory Committee as Vice President and Executive Director of Partnerships and Board Relations. His work and that of his colleagues in managing relationships with institutional partners and board members was valuable in Los Angeles winning its bid to host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics.

Tomozawa, now CEO of SEAFWC26, spoke at the Albers Executive Speaker Series last May 8th on a number of topics: The massive economic impact of the FIFA World Cup; how the city is preparing for an influx of soccer-crazy fans from all around the world; his journey from Goldman Sachs, where he was a partner and Global Head of Foreign Exchange Sales, to being a sports team owner (Sounders FC, Las Vegas Golden Knights, Swansea City football club).

“There are going to be a billion eyeballs on Seattle,” Tomozawa said at the panel discussion. “We’re thinking of the legacy we leave behind; we’re not going to build another Space Needle. The plan is to focus on a people-based legacy, on community, culture, and children.”

Listen to a recording of the panel discussion on The Leadership Playbook podcast. Save the dates for upcoming speakers:

  • Ketul Patel, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, October 17th, 2023)
  • Preston Feight, CEO, PACCAR, January 24th, 2024
  • Sean Tresvant, CEO, Taco Bell, February 8th, 2024
  • Barry Posner, leadership scholar and author, April 9th, 2024
  • Krish Srinivasan, President and CEO of PCC Community Markets, April 25th, 2024