With a World Cup just on the horizon, it’s time for us to look a little further than that.
The 2026 World Cup, set to take place in Canada, Mexico, and the United States is only four years away and one question on the minds of those involved is which cities will be given the right to host matches. This is an incredibly unique situation — as most countries have a certain number of cities that they can reasonably build stadiums in capable of hosting these games. Considering there are three countries holding matches, this isn’t the case; making this decision a tough one.
Well, FIFA will be making that decision soon — announcing the host cities in a live stream to the world on Thursday, June 16th. According to the FIFA announcement of this stream, 22 cities will be fighting for the chance to hold these games in their own backyard. However, that’s not entirely true. In the bid book for the World Cup, the organizers made it clear that only three cities in Canada and Mexico would be getting the rights to host. This leaves the remaining 16 host cities in the United States to fight to be one of 10 that have matches played out.
Mexico’s three stadiums have been decided since the beginning. They will be:
- Mexico City — Estadio Azteca [capacity: 87,523] — 1970 and 1986 World Cup hosts, home of Club América, Cruz Azul and the Mexican National Team
- Monterrey, Nuevo Leon — Estadio BBVA [capacity: 53,500] — home of CF Monterrey
- Guadalajara, Jalisco — Estadio Akron [capacity: 49,850] — home of Chivas Guadalajara
Canada’s three stadiums have had a little tougher time being narrowed down. After initially being one of the final three candidates, the Stade Olympique in Montreal pulled out of hosting duties. In its place, another former Olympic host stepped up after initially sitting out. The three sites are:
- Toronto, Ontario — BMO Field [capacity 30,000] (expanding to 45,500) — home of Toronto FC and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts
- Edmonton, Alberta — Commonwealth Stadium [capacity: 55,819] — 2015 Women’s World Cup site, home of the CPL’s FC Edmonton and the CFL’s Edmonton Elks
- Vancouver, British Columbia — BC Place [capacity: 54,500] — 2015 Women’s World Cup final site, home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC
This leaves the United States. There are a lot of cities and a lot of potential hosts. Some have a good history of hosting matches with CONCACAF (and CONMEBOL) standards in place. Not all places are created equal, and the people in charge knew that. In the initial bid book for these games, they grouped each stadium by which round they think each site could host. Consider this an indicator as to how likely each place is to be selected. We’re going to group them as such.
*-city previously hosted World Cup matches
Quarterfinal / Third Place Game
- Baltimore, MD (combined bid with Washington, D.C.) — M&T Bank Stadium [bid book capacity: 70,976] — home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati, OH — Paul Brown Stadium [bid book capacity: 67,402] — home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals
- Denver, CO — Empower Field at Mile High [bid book capacity: 77,595] — home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos
- Houston, TX — NRG Stadium [capacity: 72,220] — two time Super Bowl host and home of the NFL’s Houston Texans
- Kansas City, MO — Arrowhead Stadium [bid book capacity: 76,640] — home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs
- Miami Gardens, FL — Hard Rock Stadium [bid book capacity: 67,518] — host of the recent Formula One Miami GP, six time Super Bowl host and home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins
- Nashville, TN — Nissan Stadium [bid book capacity: 69,722] — home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans
- Orlando, FL* — Camping World Bowl [bid book capacity: 65,000] — 1994 World Cup site
- Philadelphia, PA* — Lincoln Financial Field [bid book capacity: 69,328] — 2003 Women’s World Cup site and home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles
- Seattle, WA — Lumen Field [expandable capacity: 72,000] — home of Seattle Sounders FC and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks
- Atlanta, GA — Mercedes-Benz Stadium [bid book capacity: 75,000] — one time Super Bowl host and home of Atlanta United FC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons
- Foxborough, MA* (Boston) — Gillette Stadium [bid book capacity: 70,000] — 2003 Women’s World Cup site and home of the New England Revolution and the NFL’s New England Patriots
- Arlington, TX (Dallas*) — AT&T Stadium [bid book capacity: 92,967] — one time Super Bowl host and home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys
- Santa Clara, CA (San Francisco Bay Area*) — Levi’s Stadium [bid book capacity: 70,909] — one time Super Bowl host and home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers
- East Rutherford, NJ* (New York Metro Area) — MetLife Stadium [bid book capacity: 87,157] — one time Super Bowl host, 2016 Copa America final host, and home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets
- Pasadena, CA* (Los Angeles) — Rose Bowl [bid book capacity: 88,432] — 1994, 1999, and 2003 World Cup final site and five time Super Bowl host