The 2026 World Cup is a few years away, but the 16 cities in the United States of America that are fighting to host games will know on June 16, 2022 if they have been successful.
This will be a big moment in those host cities if they are successful, as FIFA will announce the host cities at 5pm ET in New York City.
[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]
FIFA has not confirmed how many of the host cities it will select from the US, Canada and Mexico. However, it is believed that there will be 16 in total (10 from the US and three from Canada and Mexico). But that is yet to be confirmed, as reports suggest one of the Canadian cities may be left out of an additional host city in the US.
The tournament will be the second time the US has hosted the men’s World Cup (the first was in 1994), the first time Canada has hosted the men’s tournament, and the third time Mexico has hosted after hosting the World Cups. from 1970 and 1986.
Two of the three proposed venues in Canada (Edmonton could be lost; Toronto is a lock, while Vancouver joined the bid after Montreal withdrew) and three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City) are expected to host the world Cup. games.
That could leave 16 cities fighting for 10 spots in the US.
Latest FIFA Update
After confirming when the 16 venues will be announced, FIFA also said the following in its statement:
- While the stadiums represent an essential element of the selection process, FIFA is considering the general proposals submitted by each candidate host city, which are broader in nature and also include events and ancillary venues, and key aspects such as sustainability, rights human, legacy, infrastructure and financial impact.
- “Over the last few months we have had open exchanges with the candidate host cities on a number of different topics. We are very grateful and impressed by how dedicated and innovative everyone is,” said Colin Smith, Director of FIFA Tournaments and Events. “The host cities will be absolutely key to guaranteeing the success of the competition. We look forward to working with them to deliver what will undoubtedly be the biggest FIFA World Cup in history.”
The 2026 World Cup will be the biggest in history with 80 games played in total, 60 of which will be in the US and the entire tournament from the quarterfinals onwards will be in the US.
This got us thinking: How are things for the potential host cities since the announcement in 2018 that the US, Mexico and Canada would host the expanded 48-team tournament?
Below, we rank the 16 cities vying for the top 10 host spots in the US and share our thoughts on who we think deserves to host World Cup 2026 games.
Classification of the possible venues of the 2026 World Cup
Host cities that make it
1. New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)
2. Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium or SoFi Stadium)
3. Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
4. Seattle (Field Lumen)
5. Dallas (AT&T Stadium)
6. San Francisco/Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium)
7. Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
8. Washington, DC/Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium)
9. Boston (Gillette Stadium)
10. Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field) – SPOTLIGHT ON PHILADELPHIA OFFER
11. Houston (NRG Stadium) – FOCUS ON HOUSTON OFFER
12. Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium)
13. Denver (mile high)
14. Nashville (Nissan Stadium)
15. Orlando (Camping World Stadium)
16. Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium)
Analysis of potential host cities in the US
The first four cities on this list choose themselves. New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle are cities rooted in a rich soccer culture and are spread across the four corners of the US.
But then it starts to get complicated, Atlanta jumped onto the list due to Atlanta United’s success in MLS and its hub city status, while logistically it makes sense to have games in the Bay Area and Dallas to unite the West. The Coastal and Midwestern region respectively, even if no Midwestern cities make the final 10 list. Boston’s rich sporting heritage, in addition to its East Coast location near other host cities, must also be noted. consider.
The likes of Cincinnati and Nashville seem odd and even Orlando can be placed in that category, as Miami is likely to get the nod in Florida.
That leaves Houston, Denver and Kansas City as the three cities that could be interchangeable with Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC/Baltimore depending on how site visits have gone. The fact that Washington abandoned FedEx Field in the end and focused solely on Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium as a joint bid may hurt their chances, but FIFA likely wants a stadium near the US capital.
With Chicago pulling out of the bidding early on due to taxpayer concerns after FIFA failed to negotiate, there is a huge gap in the Midwest, so Kansas City or Denver could fill that.
In addition, it seems that Philadelphia could be the big winner of Montreal by abandoning the bidding in Canada and also because FIFA is interested in grouping the group stage games in nearby cities, since having group games in Boston, Philadelphia and the New York City would be easy to travel to.
We also shouldn’t rule out Houston being able to host indoor games at NRG Stadium (which is a big plus in the summer months) and the Texas city has grown tremendously as a soccer hub in recent years.
What is FIFA looking for?
Remember: the location of the venues, as well as transport, hotels and other local infrastructure play an important role in the choice of host cities. Tens of thousands of additional fans will flock to the city where the game is played without tickets just to be there.
It’s very difficult to narrow this list down to just 10 because we all know that the US can host the World Cup on its own and the fact that six cities are expected to host games from both Mexico and Canada makes the competition for the seat city status in the US even stronger.
Whoever wins the battle to host the 2026 World Cup games, it will be the biggest party on the planet and it will be transformative for sport in the United States of America.