NEW YORK – Kansas Metropolis and Boston are among the many North American cities that may stage 2026 males’s World Cup matches – however Washington DC and Baltimore usually are not.
FIFA, soccer’s international governing physique, revealed the event’s hosts on Thursday right here in Manhattan. It chosen three Mexican cities, two Canadian ones, and 11 in america – New York / East Rutherford, NJ; Philadelphia; Boston / Foxborough; Miami; Atlanta; Houston; Dallas / Arlington; Kansas Metropolis; Los Angeles / Inglewood; San Francisco / Santa Clara; and Seattle.
It didn’t, nonetheless, choose the US capital, and one of many nation most sturdy soccer markets. “This was a really, very troublesome alternative,” Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief competitions and occasions officer, mentioned. He acknowledged that “it is exhausting to think about … a World Cup coming to the US and the capital metropolis not taking a significant position.”
Washington DC merged its bid with Baltimore’s earlier this spring to counter FIFA’s considerations about FedEx Subject, the oft-ridiculed residence of the Washington Commanders. FIFA officers confirmed widespread damaging perceptions of the stadium once they toured it final fall, sources instructed Yahoo Sports activities. In response, organizers pitched a plan to play video games at M&T Financial institution Stadium, the house of the Baltimore Ravens, whereas internet hosting festivals and VIP occasions in Washington.
However FIFA in the end snubbed the joint bid, and as a substitute selected Boston and Kansas Metropolis, two different bubble cities. FIFA officers mentioned they made their last selections Wednesday night time and Thursday morning. Boston’s candidacy was boosted by Robert Kraft, who was the honorary chair of the North American bid committee, and who has a private relationship with FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
A FIFA spokesman additionally confirmed to Yahoo Sports activities that the Los Angeles video games will probably be held at SoFi Stadium, not the Rose Bowl. (Organizers had thought-about staging video games at each.)
The US, Canada and Mexico received the proper to host the 2026 version of the world’s most-watched sporting occasion again in 2018, and supplied two dozen metropolitan areas as potential venues for matches. They initially proposed that there’d be 10 within the US, and three every in Mexico and Canada.
As a substitute, on Thursday, they selected 11 US cities and simply two north of the border. They confirmed all three Mexican candidates – Mexico Metropolis, Guadalajara and Monterrey – however solely Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. With Montreal withdrawing its bid final summer season, citing hefty priceshowever Vancouver then reemerging as a candidate this spring, FIFA officers turned away from Edmonton.
The 4 different finalists not chosen have been Orlando, Cincinnati, Nashville and Denver. Nashville’s hopes have been torpedoed by uncertainty round the way forward for its NFL stadium. However these 4, just like the 16 match websites and different non-finalists, might nonetheless host workforce base camps and pre-tournament friendlies. Most taking part nationwide groups will prepare at schools and MLS amenities throughout the US
There’ll even be “Fan Fests” – FIFA-sponsored out of doors watch events – in non-host cities. Washington DC had envisioned one on the Nationwide Mall. When requested if that may nonetheless occur, Smith started to present a non-committal reply, however Infantino minimize him off with a smile and one phrase: “Sure.”
US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone mentioned that her purpose is “to guarantee that this World Cup touches all 50 states,” and “each stage of this sport.”
With the lads’s World Cup increasing to 48 groups in 2026, 60 of 80 video games will seemingly be held within the US FIFA has not mentioned what number of matches every metropolis will host, however the North American bid committee initially proposed a minimal of 5 per US metropolis , together with a minimum of two knockout-round video games every. A schedule shell, which “is being labored on,” in line with FIFA vp Victor Montagliani, may very well be launched as quickly as subsequent yr.
There’ll in all probability be three video games on the opening day, one in every nation, with venues for particular matches nonetheless to be decided. “We’ll take our time with that call,” Infantino mentioned Thursday.
The highest two candidates to host the ultimate, in line with a supply accustomed to the planning course of, are MetLife Stadium in North Jersey and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The opposite stadiums will probably be Lincoln Monetary Subject (Philadelphia); Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Massachusetts); Onerous Rock Stadium (Miami); Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta); NRG Stadium (Houston); Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas Metropolis); SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California); Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California); Lumen Subject (Seattle); Azteca Stadium (Mexico Metropolis); Estadio Akron (Guadalajara); BBVA Stadium (Monterrey); BMO Subject (Toronto); and BC Place (Vancouver).
Why some US cities will not be concerned
Like Montreal, some US cities selected to not be concerned. Chicago, citing taxpayer threat and “FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to barter,” pulled out of the working in 2018, months earlier than the so-called United Bid had even been chosen by the 200-plus worldwide soccer executives who comprise FIFA’s membership.
Minneapolis additionally withdrew as a result of FIFA’s calls for, which embody tax breaks and varied native authorities ensures. Host cities basically pay to stage 3-7 video games, a “Fan Fest” and different occasions. They welcome hundreds of vacationers, however FIFA collects the overwhelming majority of income from the video games themselves and makes a multi-billion-dollar revenue.
“Particularly, we have been requesting flexibility on the monetary legal responsibility caps and / or stronger estimates on anticipated prices related to the occasions,” the The Minneapolis bid committee mentioned in an announcement. “The shortcoming to barter the phrases of the varied bid agreements didn’t present our companions, and our neighborhood, with adequate protections from future legal responsibility and unexpected modifications in commitments.”
Like with the Olympics, host-city contracts are broadly considered as one-sided, granting FIFA widespread energy to dictate the event whereas shirking monetary threat. When requested in regards to the tax breaks, and why FIFA pushes for extra cash that might serve native governments, Infantino argued that cities derive financial advantages stemming from tourism, and defined that FIFA distributes its revenues to its 211 member associations, a lot of whom depend on the payouts to perform. He defended the observe as “a good compromise.”
World Cups additionally include civil considerations. They typically deliver heavy policing and, in some circumstances, displacement of susceptible individuals. A coalition of labor and human rights teams wrote to FIFA late final yr to demand a collection of minimal rights requirements across the 2026 event, and on Thursday “expressed concern concerning negotiations with FIFA over human rights and employee rights.” Cathy Feingold, the worldwide director on the AFL-CIO, instructed Yahoo Sports activities in a cellphone interview that human rights plans offered by the chosen US cities have been “very uneven.” (FIFA plans to observe up on the North American bid’s human rights commitments over the approaching months and years.)
Host cities have a good time
Nonetheless, the 16 cities and their residents celebrated on Thursday. Many hosted downtown watch events promoted and graced by mayors.
Tickets will in all probability go on sale in 2025. The event will in all probability begin Thursday, June 11, 2026, until organizers push for an earlier begin date to keep away from excessive warmth. Eight of the 16 cities cities frequently expertise June temperatures within the 90s, and solely three of these eight stadiums have roofs. Infantino indicated that these climate-proof venues may very well be candidates for afternoon video games, whereas video games at out of doors grounds kick off within the night.
He additionally mentioned that groups would play in “clusters,” which means the three groups in a given group would play their two first-round video games in the identical or adjoining areas – in order to not drive them and their followers to “journey loopy distances, “Infantino mentioned.
The event will function 16 teams of three, after which a first-of-its-kind 32-team knockout spherical. It will likely be the primary World Cup with 48 groups, and can nearly actually smash the tournament-wide attendance file – which remains to be held by the 1994 Males’s World Cup within the US
That is the primary males’s World Cup on North American soil since that one, the primary collectively hosted by three nations. Smith, contemplating these elements and the dimensions of NFL stadiums, mentioned the viewers might double earlier highs. The 1994 mark, he mentioned, is “gonna be blown out of the water.”
“2026 will probably be a lot, a lot, a lot greater [than 1994], “Infantino agreed.” I believe this a part of the world doesn’t notice what’ll occur right here in 2026. I imply, these three nations will probably be the wrong way up. The world will probably be invading Canada, Mexico and america. And they are going to be invaded by a giant wave of pleasure and happiness. “
A yr later, the Ladies’s World Cup might return to america. Cone mentioned US Soccer “positively plan[s] on bidding “for both the 2027 or 2031 version. However FIFA has not but requested for bids and, in line with one supply, may not open the method till after the 2022 Males’s World Cup in November and December.