FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he expects soccer to be the biggest sport in North America in time for the 2026 World Cup as the international tournament’s host cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico were announced on Thursday.
World soccer governing body FIFA announced the 16 cities which were successful from the 22 bids put forward during a special event at the Rockefeller Centre in New York. Eleven of the host cities are in the United States, three in Mexico and two in Canada.
However, there was no confirmation as yet where the opening game or the final would be played. When asked about the venue for the final match, CONCACAF president, Vittorio Montaglian, said they have not begun the process of selecting the closing venue.
“There’ll be a whole other process for picking not just the final, but the big matches, knockout matches, the opening match and obviously the final,” explained Montaglian.
The United States, which staged the tournament in 1994, will host games in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and New York/New Jersey.
Mexico, which hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986, will stage matches in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, while Canada, which is staging the men’s event for the first time, will do so in Vancouver and Toronto.
Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Orlando, Washington DC/Baltimore and Edmonton were the six cities that missed out.
The 2026 tournament is expected to smash World Cup attendance records, which peaked at 3.6 million when it was held in the United States in 1994.
It will also be the first time that 48 teams will feature in the tournament, an increase from the 32 that will contest this year’s event in Qatar.
Your #FIFAWorldCup 2026 Host Cities:
🇺🇸New York / New Jersey
🇺🇸San Francisco Bay Area
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 16, 2022