One of the most eagerly-anticipated sports events in the world has been somewhat tarnished in 2022.
A winter edition of the football World Cup does very little to excite, neither does the fact that the host nation – Qatar – continues to have such a questionable record on various human rights matters.
And so many are already looking forward to World Cup 2026 for a ‘proper’ fix of the Jules Rimet trophy, and to that end the United States, Canada and Mexico have now revealed which of their cities will host the action.
This will be the first ever World Cup played across three countries, largely because the tournament will be expanded to 48 teams from 32 for the first time as well.
Some 60 of the 80 games will be played in the United States, who have nominated 16 venues across eleven cities to take on hosting duties.
The likes of Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York will be represented, as will Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle.
Fans of the World Cup in 1994, the last time America took on hosting duties, will be saddened to learn that the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl has not been selected for inclusion, while bids from the capital, Washington DC, was also rejected alongside those of Orlando, Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville and more.
In Canada, the BMO Field in Toronto and BC Place in Vancouver will play host to a small selection of games, while in Mexico it will be Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City that are on duty – the latter’s Estadio Azteca becoming the first stadium in history to host at three different World Cups.
FIFA’s chief competitions and events officer, Colin Smith, reflected on the ‘difficult choice’ which left many disappointed.
“It’s been an incredibly competitive process,” he said.
“All the cities have been amazing. This was a very, very difficult choice.”
The Biggest Stadiums at World Cup 2026
One of the perks of hosting the World Cup in North and Central America is that there are some mammoth venues that can be used.
And they don’t come much bigger than Estadio Azteca, which has a quoted capacity of 87,523. But this is a venue with a history of cramming more people in – an astonishing 132,000 reportedly witnessed Julio Cesar Chavez’s 1993 boxing bout with Greg Haugen here.
Two of the American venues that could yet end up hosting the World Cup final – the AT&T Stadium in Dallas and the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles – also have considerable capacities. The former has hosted more than 100,000 people for a Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants NFL game, the 2010 NBA All-Star contest and WrestleMania 32, while the latter can also be extended to house 100,000 as well.
Over on the east coast of the US, the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey – but just a stone’s throw from New York – leads the way. Home to the Big Apple’s favourite sports teams the Giants and the Jets, this venue can welcome up to 82,500 people at a time.
Other considerable options include the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas (76,000), the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (73,000) and the NRG Stadium in Houston, which comes complete with a retractable roof and a capacity of 72,000.