2026 World Cup host cities: Ranking the contenders

2026 World Cup host cities: Ranking the contenders

Moscow • The 2026 World Cup is coming to North America, an infinite land mass with dozens of cities that may like to host matches. Properly earlier than the USA, Mexico and Canada prevailed Wednesday, the listing of potential venues to fill 16 slots had been trimmed to 23. So the place will the video games be performed?

First, the fundamentals: Slated to stage 60 matches, the USA could have essentially the most areas (10 or 11). Mexico (10 video games) is anticipated to have all three entries. Canada (10) can depend on a minimum of two of the three proposed websites.

FIFA has the ultimate say, so the present define may change. If FIFA wished extra video games in Mexico or Canada, the governing physique would make it occur. In concept, FIFA may demand a recent have a look at two main cities — Chicago and Vancouver — that withdrew from consideration as a result of they didn’t associate with the monetary necessities.

Why didn’t Mexico and Canada obtain a extra equitable share of the matches within the authentic proposal? As a result of Mexico and Canada wanted the USA greater than the USA wanted them. Had both rejected the plan, the USA would’ve gone forth with out one or each, and might need nonetheless gained the fitting to host the match.

In equity, although, Mexico and Canada did diversify the trouble and assist promote it as a regional marketing campaign somewhat than a strictly U.S. occasion. And on this political local weather, that issue may’ve influenced a number of voters.

One other query: With so many massive cities and correct stadiums obtainable throughout three nations, why not play in 24 or 30 venues? Reply: cash. Every World Cup venue requires the identical stage of safety, infrastructure and preparations, whether or not a metropolis hosts one recreation or 10. Sixteen websites apparently made essentially the most financial sense.

One necessary factor to contemplate: To cut back journey calls for, organizers plan to weigh geography closely. So a metropolis that appears out of the operating may obtain higher consideration earlier than the ultimate verdict.

North American organizers will work with FIFA earlier than the ultimate listing is chosen no sooner than 2020. In the intervening time, right here’s the place issues in all probability stand:

New York • MetLife Stadium holds 82,000 and, though it’s not truly within the Large Apple, it’s the first outside venue for sports activities in America’s largest market. It has staged a Tremendous Bowl, Copa America Centenario ultimate and quite a few worldwide friendlies. If it doesn’t host the 2026 ultimate, it is going to get a semifinal. In 1994, Giants Stadium was among the many main venues and hosted a semifinal.

Los Angeles • The Rose Bowl staged the 1994 World Cup ultimate between Brazil and Italy, and stays a jewel within the portfolio of American stadiums. However with a brand new NFL stadium opening quickly in Inglewood, FIFA will weigh choices. If the USA had been the only host, each venues would possible be included. It’s not unprecedented: In 2010, South Africa used each Ellis Park in downtown Johannesburg and Soccer Metropolis in suburban Soweto, and this summer time, Moscow has each Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium. However with not more than 11 U.S. venues, it’s arduous to think about two in a single metropolis.

Mexico Metropolis • Estadio Azteca is the one venue in its present type to host two World Cup finals. Sure, Maracana has carried out in order nicely, however the Rio stadium has undergone appreciable modifications because the 1950 ultimate. Anyway, Azteca stays an iconic website for soccer, and it’s positive to make the listing.

Boston • A contender, sure, however a front-runner? Right here’s why: Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft owns Gillette Stadium. Bob Kraft was the North American bid’s honorary chairman. Bobby Kraft persuaded the Trump administration to help the bid and provides federal assurances that FIFA requires. On Friday, Trump gave Kraft a shout out on Twitter. The venue is one among a number of that must lay pure grass over the bogus turf months prematurely. In 1994, World Cup matches had been held at Foxboro Stadium, Gillette’s predecessor.

Dallas • With its retractable roof, large capability, video board the dimensions of small CONCACAF nations and, in its younger existence, expertise internet hosting worldwide matches, AT&T Stadium in Arlington is a no brainer. A grass cowl is required, nonetheless; it’s been carried out there. In 1994, the Cotton Bowl within the metropolis limits was a venue.

Guadalajara • As talked about above, Mexico is prone to get all three of its proposed stadiums onto the ultimate listing. In order that would come with Estadio Akron, a 48,000-seater in-built 2010.

Monterrey • Identical goes for 53,000-seat BBVA Bancomer Stadium, positioned just a few hours from the U.S. border.

Atlanta • Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a retractable roof, 72,000 seats and a downtown location. It, too, might want to set up short-term grass. Atlanta additionally has Arthur Clean, the billionaire whose funding in MLS and the stadium has vaulted the town right into a top-tier soccer market.

Washington • Visiting FedEx Subject is an excellent expertise … mentioned nobody ever. However it’s lots large, has pure grass and there’s additionally the chance the Redskins will construct a brand new stadium, which might leap the town into the front-runners class. In 1994, earlier than FedEx Subject existed, RFK Stadium was the selection.

Houston • Retractable roof for summer time consolation and expertise internet hosting worldwide matches will enhance NRG Stadium’s probabilities.

Miami • South Florida missed out in 1994, yielding to Orlando. It’ll in all probability be the opposite means round this time.

Toronto • BMO Subject is a pleasant little lakeside stadium, however to accommodate the World Cup, it might want to increase attendance to 45,000 from 30,000. Rogers Centre shouldn’t be into account due to scheduling conflicts with baseball’s Blue Jays.

Seattle • The Pacific Northwest is the guts of soccer in the USA, and with CenturyLink Subject providing a downtown setting, it’s arduous to think about FIFA snubbing the Emerald Metropolis. Grass is important.

San Francisco/Bay Space • Levi’s Stadium is in San Jose, not San Francisco, and has had common issues with the situations of the grass discipline. Nevertheless it represents an enormous metro space. In 1994, FIFA used Stanford Stadium.

Philadelphia • Lincoln Monetary Subject is a pleasant grass venue, however with Boston, New York and Washington larger on the listing, Philly has an uphill combat. Geographic issues would assist, however 4 venues within the Northeast’s I-95 hall may not fly.

Montreal • Plans to renovate Olympic Stadium embrace a brand new retractable roof, and the town’s European vibe will add to the World Cup spirit.

Denver • The Mile Excessive Metropolis is amongst three contenders at altitude, becoming a member of Mexico Metropolis (7,350 toes) and Guadalajara (5,100). Three are maybe too many.

Orlando • Tenting World Stadium, previously the Citrus Bowl, was a 1994 venue, however with Miami within the operating, central Florida’s greatest hopes may relaxation in geographic pairings.

Baltimore • Pinched between Washington and Philadelphia, Allure Metropolis is probably going out of luck.

Edmonton • If Canada will get all three proposed venues or if Montreal or Toronto stumbles.

Nashville • Cool metropolis, good stadium, however an excessive amount of competitors for restricted slots.

Kansas Metropolis • Arrowhead Stadium is interesting, however there are too many superior selections.

Cincinnati • Maybe an upset within the making? Not going.

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