FC Cincinnati, The Banks, The Pitch Hosting FIFA World Cup Watch Parties

The USMNT games continue to feed Cincinnati's appetite for pro soccer.

click to enlarge Catch the soccer action during a watch party at The Banks. - Photo: Peter Glaser, Unsplash
Photo: Peter Glaser, Unsplash
Catch the soccer action during a watch party at The Banks.

Cincinnati has World Cup fever, and plenty of venues are giving soccer fans a place to enjoy the games.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off Nov. 20 with a match between host country Qatar and Ecuador. The United States' first match will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 21 against Wales.

FC Cincinnati and The Banks

FC Cincinnati and The Banks are joining forces to host official watch parties for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s matches, beginning with the team's first match.

Soccer fans can head to The Banks to watch the game on the big screen above the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum on E. Freedom Way and enjoy giveaways, prizes and more. Fans can stop by nearby bars and restaurants for food and drinks, and FC Cincinnati will be selling merchandise on-site, including a limited-edition scarf with U.S. and FCC colors.

There also will be watch parties when the U.S. plays England at 2 p.m. Nov. 25  and Iran at 2 p.m. Nov. 29, as well as for the World Cup final at 10 a.m. Dec. 18. Additional watch parties will be held if the USMNT advances past the group stage, a press release says.

The Pitch

The Pitch Cincy, located at 1430 Central Pkwy. in the West End, is right across from FC Cincinnati's TQL Stadium and is billing itself as the Cincinnati FIFA World Cup headquarters. The soccer-themed bar will air all World Cup matches — even the ones at 5 a.m.

When the World Cup kicked off Nov. 20, The Pitch opened its doors with a food truck and all 50 of its TVs tuned to the big game.

"We couldn't be more excited to be a part of our first World Cup and to be a home for fans around the globe [where they] can celebrate their team and country," The Pitch said in a video on Twitter.
Throughout the tournament, The Pitch will have coffee for the early-risers, beer specials, its food truck and pickups with prizes, the establishment says.

The Pitch's website says to check the venue's social media pages for opening times for specific matches.

A soccer city

Cincinnati had been in the running to host its own World Cup matches. The Queen City was among many North American cities vying to host games for the 2026 tournament, a multi-year bid the region had launched back in 2017. Though FIFA ultimately did not select Cincinnati, the 2026 Cincy Local Organizing Committee has indicated that it will pursue future World Cup opportunities.

The World Cup miss hasn't dampened Cincinnati's appetite for soccer, though. In 2021, TQL Stadium hosted the USMNT's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Mexico and was one of the city's top economic events since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (featuring Cincinnati’s own Olympian, Rose Lavelle) also trounced Paraguay during an international friendly there that summer.

And, of course, FC Cincinnati hit a ton of highs during the 2022 season, including its first-ever postseason berth, a postseason win against a higher seed, a club record for consecutive scoring games and a stadium selected as the "best in the world." Cincinnati attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta and forward Brandon Vazquez also became the team's first players named to Major League Soccer's Best Xi list, which celebrates the top 11 players in the league.

FC Cincy's 12 regular-season wins were much better than the six or fewer wins the team had earned during each of the previous three seasons since 2019. The 2022 season also marked the first time Cincinnati did not finish in last place in the Eastern Conference.


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