FIFA names its picks for 2026 World Cup host cities

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

FIFA has announced its picks for the 2026 World Cup, a matchup that will also bring a series of changes to the final tournament.

FIFA had previously announced plans to hold the 2026 World Cup across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, marking the first time the games would be played across more than one country. Previously a single country would host, such as Qatar in the yet-to-be-held 2022 games.

Spreading out the games across the three nations does still confine the tournament to the region and continent commonly known as North America, however.

On June 16, 2022, FIFA announced its picks for the 16 host cities, which include two in Canada, three in Mexico and 11 in the U.S.

In addition, the 2026 tournament will see a new format that includes 48 teams, eschewing the 36-team format that has been used since 1998.

Game count will also increase to 80, with 60 of those being held in the U.S. and 10 in Mexico and 10 in Canada.

Games will be played over the period of approximately one month in 2026 at the following venues:

  • BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • BC Place, Vancouver, B.C. Canada
  • Estadio Akron, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
  • Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Estadio BBVA, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough (Boston), Massachusetts, United States
  • AT&T Stadium, Arlington (Dallas), Texas, United States
  • NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, United States
  • Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • SoFi Stadium, Inglewood (Los Angeles), California, United States
  • Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, Florida, United States
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. (New York), United States
  • Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, United States
  • Levi’s Stadium Santa Clara (San Fransisco), California, United States
  • Lumen Field, Seattle, United States

Seating capacity of the selected facilities ranges from 80,000 at AT&T Stadium to 45,500 at BMO Field.

In the U.S., Fox and Telemundo have the broadcast rights to the 2026 games in English and Spanish, respectively. The deal was renewed in 2015 without a formal bidding process that would have opened the field to other broadcasters.

This was, at least in part, driven by the scheduling of the 2022 games in November and December as opposed to the normal June-July dates as part of an effort to prevent holding the games in the summer heat in the Middle East.

That change, however, means that the World Cup will fall in the middle of the NFL season (North American football) as well as the start of both the NBA and NHL seasons. Fox holds some rights to NFL games and the schedule change also means coverage could go up against broadcasts of the other two sports, which could put Fox’s broadcasts at a disadvantage.

The World Cup has become a major player in the world of sports broadcast rights, with its games attracting millions of viewers worldwide, a number that appears to be growing as interest increases. Holding the games in North America could also help trigger more interest in these regions.

The new broadcast deal covers a slew of related tournaments, including the Women’s World Cup 2023, U20 World Cup 2023 and 2025, U17 World Cup 2023 and 2025, Beach Soccer World Cup 2023 and 2025, Futsal World Cup 2024, U20 Women’s World Cup 2024 and 2026, U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 and 2026 and FIFA Confederations Cup 2025.

Winning a bid to host the World Cup can mean significant revenue for the metropolitan areas represented thanks to the influx of hotel and restaurant reservations and other business that teams, staff and fans who flock to the cities generate.

Some states, including Missouri, Florida and Texas, have worked on legislation to not collect sales tax on World Cup tickets.