Which were chosen to host the 2026 World Cup? Breaking down the process, candidates

Host cities will be chosen Thursday during a 5 p.m. ET ceremony in New York City

FIFA awarded the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Canada and Mexico back in 2018. Photo by Catherine Ivill (Getty Images)

Soccer fans in North America who are eagerly anticipating the 2026 World Cup can start making travel plans.

FIFA, the world’s governing body of soccer and organizer of the World Cup, announced the host cities for the 2026 World Cup on Thursday.

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The United States, Canada and Mexico are tri-hosts, but a majority of the games, including the final, will be in the U.S.

Here’s an overview of the process and host cities selected.

Sweet 16.

With an expanded field that will include 48 teams (this year’s event in Qatar will have 32), there were 16 total cities from the three countries chosen.

There were 11 U.S. cities, three Mexican cities and two Canadian cities chosen.

Here were the choices by country.

U.S. - Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium); Boston (Gillette Stadium); Dallas (AT&T Stadium); Houston (NRG Stadium); Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium); Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium); Miami (Hard Rock Stadium); New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium); Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field); San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium) and Seattle (Lumen Field).

Canada - Toronto and Vancouver.

Mexico - Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.

The cities in the U.S. that didn’t get chosen were Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Orlando, and Baltimore, while Edmonton wasn’t chosen as a site in Canada.

Why are there so few candidate cities in the Midwest portion of the U.S.?

Of note, there is a dearth of candidate cities from the Midwest, where weather would be an advantage in the summer when the event is held. Chicago, which was a host site for the 1994 World Cup, pulled out in 2018 because it didn’t want to meet FIFA’s financial demands for hosting.

Ditto for Minneapolis, which has gleaming new soccer and football stadiums.

Columbus has become a staple city to host World Cup qualifying and other important games for the U.S. Men’s National Team, but it wasn’t considered as a host site.

Detroit, which also hosted games during the 1994 World Cup, was never in the running.

Why are U.S. sites going to use football stadiums and not soccer-only stadiums?

Cities such as Los Angeles, Dallas and Kansas City have their own soccer stadiums, but they are using football stadiums in their bids because FIFA has minimum capacity requirements for its host stadiums.

Stadiums that host any games at all have to have a capacity of 40,000, stadiums that want to host quarterfinal games have to have a capacity of at least 60,000, while stadiums that want to host the opening ceremony or final have to be at least 80,000 in capacity.

Which city will be chosen to host the final?

The final will be in the U.S., and the guess here is that MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey will be chosen as host for the biggest game of all.

Los Angeles is the other most logical candidate, but given it played host to the final in 1994, the feeling is that it will be New York’s turn this time around.

The site of the final will likely be chosen sometime next year.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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