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When FIFA officials visited Nashville in September to tour the city and assess its viability as a World Cup host city, most were in agreement Nashville had as good a chance as any to be chosen.

Fast forward nine months, and Nashville was not selected as one of the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup, spurned in favor of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

Mexico landed three host cities, including Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey, while Canada had two — Toronto and Vancouver. Both countries will host 10 matches each while the U.S. hosts the remaining 60, including all matches from the quarterfinals to the final.

“There is literally nothing I would do different about our bid,” Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon said. “We answered every question, we showed exceptionally well. … We’re disappointed. I don’t like losing. So, yeah [I’m] disappointed. Surprised? Not completely. 

“We started out in last place. Nobody thought we would make the cut, but we did. We believed we had a hell of a chance, and we believe it was a tough decision for FIFA.”

While specifics of why FIFA did not pick Nashville are left to speculation, Spyridon admitted he was just as disappointed as the rest of us.

“We know [FIFA] loved our experience, they loved our commitment, they loved our compact campus, they loved our geographic location, they loved the community leadership, and they loved the evolution of this town as an international destination,” he said. “So, you'll have to ask [FIFA] what the deciding factor was because I don’t know.”

Likely the biggest hurdle was the uncertainty surrounding the potential new Tennessee Titans stadium, which is expected to be built directly next to Nissan Stadium, where World Cup matches would have been played.

Hosting such a large-scale event with thousands of tourists and an overwhelming surge in traffic next to a possible construction zone presumably worked against the city.

“I think we alleviated [FIFA’s] concerns [about the stadium uncertainty],” Spyridon said. “I can’t speak exactly to that. But at the end of the day, we said we’re going to be over at [Nissan] stadium, and we’re going to play at that stadium. ... I’m not willing to blame the stadium. I will admit it brings questions that I feel like we more than answered and gave them assurances.”

According to a study by the University of Tennessee in February, being a World Cup host city would have had economic impact of an estimated $694.6 million for Nashville.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_