TQL Stadium Named Best in the World

The stadium "intentionally harnesses the energy of a dedicated fan base to bring a world-class soccer experience to Cincinnati," judges say.

click to enlarge TQL Stadium, home to FC Cincinnati, is getting high praise. - Photo: Francisco Huerta Jr.
Photo: Francisco Huerta Jr.
TQL Stadium, home to FC Cincinnati, is getting high praise.

TQL Stadium
is less than two years old, but it already has had some impressive moments.

The most recent? Being named the best venue in the entire world.

Bi-monthly sports venue publication Mondo|Stadia named TQL Stadium as “Best Venue” for 2022 at the World Football Summit on Sept. 28. The publication commented that in addition to being home to Major League Soccer team FC Cincinnati, the stadium also is a bridge between two of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods.

“The design of TQL Stadium intentionally harnesses the energy of a dedicated fan base to bring a world-class soccer experience to Cincinnati,” Mondo|Stadia said. “The new, state-of-the-art venue boasts a striking presence, connecting two historic neighborhoods – Over-the-Rhine and the West End – and honoring the legacy of soccer in the Queen City through a progressive design and ambitious interpretation of a Cincinnati on the rise.”

A judging panel selected TQL Stadium as the winner based on fan experience, technological advances, match day operations, personalized attention and catering, a release says.

“We built TQL Stadium to be a world-class MLS stadium which would proudly represent Cincinnati across the nation and on the world stage,” Jeff Berding, co-CEO of FC Cincinnati, said in the release. “It is an honor to receive this prestigious global recognition.”

FC Cincinnati became the 24th team to enter the MLS as a professional soccer team in 2019. Before that, the team played in the second-division United Soccer League (USL) from 2016 to 2018.
TQL Stadium opened in the West End in 2021 after beginning construction in 2018 at a cost of more than $200 million and leveling neighborhood blocks near Central Avenue. The stadium has the capacity for about 26,000 fans and is named for Total Quality Logistics, a large freight brokerage firm based in Cincinnati.

FC Cincinnati played Inter Miami FC during the first match at TQL Stadium on May 16, 2021.

A growing soccer city

In 2021, WalletHub said Cincinnati was one of the best soccer cities in the United States, landing at No. 16 on the financial website’s list.
Later that year, TQL Stadium played host to the United States Men’s National Soccer Team’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Mexico. The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (featuring Cincinnati’s own Olympian, Rose Lavelle) also trounced Paraguay during an international friendly there.
At the time, the USMNT match was central to the region's biggest tourism weekend since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, regional officials said shortly after the game.

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

Winning ways

FC Cincinnati has been on a tear lately, setting the league’s longest unbeaten streak on Sept. 27 – 11 consecutive games without a loss at that point.
Moreover, ​​the team’s captain and attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta and forward Brandon Vasquez played in Major League Soccer's 2022 All-Star Game in August – the first time any member of Cincinnati's club had been invited to the match in the league's 26 installments.
But the end of the regular season is at hand, and fans of the Orange and Blue can gather at Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium for the team's final home game. FC Cincinnati (11-13-8) will take on Chicago Fire FC (9-8-15) on Oct. 1 before hitting the road for the season’s final regular-season match against D.C. United in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 9.

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