Get ready—the 2026 World Cup is coming to North America. A joint bid by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was chosen Wednesday morning to take on the task of hosting the biggest tournament in world soccer.
The competition—returning to North America for the first time since the U.S. hosted it in 1994—will see 16 host cities across the three countries put on 80 matches between a record 48 national teams. Forty matches are due to take place in the U.S., with Mexico and Canada hosting ten each.
It will be the first to host 48 teams, up from the normal 32 who will compete in Russia in the 2018 competition beginning this week.
The competition—the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries—will also see a unique opening day with three matches, one taking place in each country, with each home nation kicking off their campaigns.
The bid assumes each host nation will qualify automatically, as is World Cup tradition and happened in the only previous successful joint bid—Japan and Korea in 2002—though this will be decided at a future FIFA council, according to United Soccer League.
In fact, many precise details are yet to be confirmed. There are 23 possible host cities which will have to be whittled down to 16 in a final selection process. The 23 are:
- Montreal, Quebec
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Toronto, Ontario
- Mexico City
- Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
- Guadalajara, Jalisco
In the U.S.:
- Los Angeles, California
- New York City, New York
- Washington, D.C.
- Dallas, Texas
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Seattle, Washington
- San Francisco/San Jose, California
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Miami, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
The proposal says the three countries have agreed that Canada and Mexico will each stage seven Group Stage matches, two Round of 32 matches, and one Round of 16 match. That means that all the quarter finals, semi-finals, and the grand World Cup final will take place in the U.S..
The official bid document suggests the opening ceremony takes place at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City or at the Rose Bowl in the Los Angeles.
The World Cup Final, meanwhile, is suggested to take place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey due to its huge 84,953 capacity, airport connections to over 181 countries, and over 100,000 hotel beds.
The so-called “United Bid” also proposes that the two semi-finals are held in Atlanta and Dallas, but such specific details remain to be confirmed.
According to the bid, the 23 proposed stadiums have a total combined capacity of 1,662,268—an average of 69,261—and the bid team anticipates selling a total of 5.8 million tickets assuming they manage to fill every stadium for all 80 matches.
On the economic benefits, the ‘United’ World Cup will generate $14 billion in revenue and make an $11 billion in profit for Fifa, according to U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro.
Corderio said: “Hosting the 2026 Fifa World Cup is a rare and important moment to demonstrate that we are all truly united through sport.”
“We are humbled by the trust our colleagues in the Fifa family have put in our bid, strengthened by the unity between our three countries and the Concacaf region and excited by the opportunity we have to put football on a new and sustainable path for generations to come.”