The bid to bring soccer’s World Cup back to North America in 2026 was hatched in a Vancouver restaurant, announced in a New York City skyscraper and scrutinized by FIFA inspectors inside Mexico City’s cavernous Azteca stadium.
And on 13 June 2018 in Moscow, the campaign finally ended when voters — persuaded by promises of record crowds, record revenues and, perhaps crucially, a record $11 billion in profit for FIFA, world soccer’s governing body — awarded the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup to a combined bid from the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The three countries will bring the tournament to North America for the first time since 1994, with the majority of the matches, including the final, being held in the United States.
It was sold in countless other cities — Jakarta and Bangkok, Copenhagen and Lisbon, Jidda and Johannesburg — by officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada soccer federations who had teamed up in an unprecedented effort to share the world’s most-watched sporting event.
The 2026 tournament will be one of the firsts. It will be the first time the World Cup is hosted by three countries, the first time it has a 48-team format (up from 32 teams), and Wednesday’s vote was the first of its kind to be decided by FIFA’s entire membership. Of the tournament’s 80 matches, 10 will be in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the United States — including every match from the quarterfinals to the final.