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San Francisco will host Pokemon World Championship for first time since 2016
San Francisco’s largest event venue for citywide conventions, the Moscone Center, has recently been selected to host the Pokemon World Championship in 2026 — adding to a resurgent and much-needed calendar for that year which includes large tech conferences and NFL’s official party for Super Bowl LX.
As 49ers fans learned this weekend, you can’t win them all. But another Super Bowl of sorts is coming to downtown San Francisco in 2026.
Organizers of the 2026 Pokemon World Championships have recently committed to fully book out the Moscone Center and contract 21,000 hotel room nights tied to the event in late August, internal hotel records obtained by the Business Times show. The global esports competition, with a prize pool of more than $2 million, is poised to bring thousands of professional gamers and fans of the Nintendo series to downtown San Francisco, boosting what’s been a challenging convention schedule for the city’s largest venue.
The tournament, whose location has not been announced officially by organizers, is scheduled for Aug. 28-30, 2026, according to hotel records.
The annual invite-only tournament will be back in San Francisco for the first time since it was hosted at the 1,500-room Marriott Marquis in 2016. At the end of last year’s championship, held over three days just outside of Tokyo in Yokohama, Japan, Nintendo’s Pokemon division announced 2024’s event will be held in Honolulu.
The 2026 event is being put on with the help of experience marketing group George P. Johnson, which is based in Detroit but also has offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company did not respond to requests for comment on Monday, though an employee confirmed that GPJ was working with the event.
The San Francisco Travel Association, the city’s tourism bureau and handler of citywide convention bookings for the Moscone Center, likewise did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Nintendo’s Pokemon media line.
The hotel planning records suggest that Pokemon World Championship organizers were considering last year whether to bring the event to San Francisco in 2025 or 2026, ultimately choosing the latter.
The tournament adds to a resurgent lineup of local events shaping up for 2026 after several years of pandemic softness — including a slew of cancellations or shifts to other cities — that have significantly affected the prospects for hotel business in San Francisco.