We are a few years away from the 2026 World Cup, but 16 cities across the USA vying to host the matches will find out on June 16, 2022 if they are a success.
This will be a huge moment for those host cities if it succeeds, as the host cities will be announced by FIFA at 5pm EST in New York City.
[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]
FIFA has not confirmed how many host cities it will choose from the United States, Canada and Mexico. However, it is believed that there will be 16 in total (10 from the US and three each from Canada and Mexico). But this has yet to be confirmed, with reports suggesting that one of the Canadian cities may exclude an additional host city in the United States
The tournament will be the second time the United States will host the Men’s World Cup (the first was 1994), the first time Canada will host the men’s tournament and the third time Mexico will host the World Cup after hosting the 1970 and 1986 World Cups.
Two of the three stadiums rolled out are in Canada (Edmonton may miss; Toronto is locked, while Vancouver joined the bid late after Montreal withdrew) and three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City) are expected to host the World Cup. Toys.
That could leave 16 cities vying for 10 spots in the US.
The latest FIFA update
After confirming when the 16 host stadiums will be announced, FIFA also said in its statement:
- While the stadiums are an essential component of the selection process, FIFA considers the overall proposals submitted by each candidate host city, which are of a broader nature and also include events, sub-venues and key aspects such as sustainability, human rights, legacy and the public. Infrastructure and financial impact.
- “Over the past months, we have had open exchanges with the nominated host cities on a number of different topics. We are very grateful and impressed by the dedication and creativity of all of them,” said Colin Smith, Head of Tournaments and Events at FIFA. “The host cities will be absolutely essential to ensuring the success of the competition. We look forward to working with them to deliver what will undoubtedly be the largest FIFA World Cup in history.”
The 2026 World Cup will be the largest in history with 80 matches being played overall, 60 of which will be in the US and the entire tournament from the quarter-finals onwards will be in the US.
This got us thinking: How are things going for potential host cities since the announcement in 2018 that the US, Mexico and Canada would host the 48-team expanded tournament?
Below we rank the 16 cities vying for the 10 host locations in the US, and share our thoughts on who we think deserves to host the 2026 World Cup matches.
Ranking of potential 2026 World Cup stadiums
The Host Cities You Make
1. New York / New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)
2. Los Angeles (Rose Bowl or SoFi Stadium)
3. Miami (Hard Rock Stadium)
4. Seattle (lumen field)
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) – Focus on PHILLY’S BID
11. HOUSTON (NRG Stadium) – Focus on Houston Tender
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 USA
The first four cities on this list choose themselves. New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle are all cities that are rooted in rich football culture and spread across the United States.
But then it started to get tricky, Atlanta jumped up the list due to Atlanta United’s success in MLS and its status as a central city, while it makes logistical sense to have games in the Bay Area and Dallas to connect the West Coast and Midwest region respectively, even if As there were no cities in the Midwest, the rich sports heritage of Boston, as well as its location on the East Coast near the other host cities, must also be taken into account.
The likes of Cincinnati and Nashville seem to be outsiders and even Orlando could be put in this category as Miami would likely 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 their site visits went. The fact that Washington dropped FedEx Field of late and focused solely on M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore as a joint bid might hurt their chances, but it is likely that FIFA will want a stadium close to the USA capital.
With Chicago withdrawing from bidding early due to taxpayer concerns after FIFA didn’t negotiate, there is a huge gap in the Midwest for Kansas City or Denver to fill.
Also, it looks like Philly could be the big winner from Montreal who withdrew from the bid in Canada and also because FIFA is keen to have group stage matches together in nearby cities where group matches will be held in Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Easy to travel.
We also shouldn’t rule out that Houston can host games indoors at NRG Stadium (which is a huge plus in the summer months) and the city of Texas has grown exponentially as a football hub in recent years.
What is FIFA looking for?
Remember: the location of places as well as transportation, hotels and other local infrastructure all play a big role in choosing 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 matches from both Mexico and Canada makes the competition for the host even stronger.
Regardless of who wins the battle to host the 2026 World Cup matches, it will be the biggest party on the planet and will be a transformation of the sport in the USA.