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FIFA World Cup

Analyzing the 2026 World Cup Sites

Published at :May 27, 2022 at 8:40 PM
Modified at :February 28, 2023 at 11:50 PM
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With the competition set to head to North America, we look at the cities and facilities in the running.

FIFA, the international governing body for football across the world announced recently that they would be releasing the World Cup sites for 2026 on June 16th in New York, the biggest city combined among the three host countries of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The joint bid will feature the first-ever 48-team tournament, meaning there will be many more venues than usual to accommodate the larger tournament format. Sports news has suggested numerous different venues to make up the sites for the games, which are predicted to total around 16. 

The number of sites in Mexico and Canada has been determined as likely three and two, meaning the U.S. will provide the remaining 11 stadiums. With proposed stadiums out for the public to see, here are the most intriguing stadiums that would make for the best World Cup in 2026.

Mexico’s Sites

Mexico will receive three sites to host games for the World Cup in four years' time. Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca is Mexico’s crown jewel of sporting event stadiums. It seats well over 80,000 fans, and its recent renovations accommodate the hosting of large events such as the World Cup. It’s Mexico’s football temple, and will most definitely be chosen as a host site.

Professional football stadiums in Guadalajara and Monterrey, each seating about 50,000 would be the next two best options. The two stadiums show different parts of Mexico geographically while being fantastic sites for football as they know how to put on a show with Liga MX. 

Canada’s Possibilities

Commonwealth Stadium located in Edmonton, and home to the city’s CFL team is Canada’s largest stadium, booking just north of 55,000 seats. It’s an open-air design, and for a summer tournament, it will make for a fantastic atmosphere. 

Though BC Place is their next largest stadium, BMO Field in Tonrot is actually the most intriguing stadium the country has to offer. Right now, it only seats about 30,000, but they’ve announced plans to increase that number to 45,000 for the tournament. 

Toronto is Canada’s most popular tourist destination, so not having games played there would feel wrong. It’s also a stadium made for soccer, home to Toronto FC, so it has the right feel for a World Cup match.

U.S. Choices

The U.S. has about 11 spots to fill between the proposed 17 stadiums in 16 cities. The easy way to work through this would be to eliminate the stadiums that wouldn’t make for as good atmospheres, or just don’t make much logical sense. 

First, there are two stadiums in Los Angeles that were proposed, SoFi stadium, and the Rose Bowl. Though SoFi stadium is very new, and just hosted the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl seats over 90,000, and is one of America’s most iconic sporting sites. Having two sites in an already steamy LA wouldn’t make much sense, so let’s cut SoFi. 

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami was proposed, but games in the humidity of Miami in the middle of summer sound like a disaster. Despite Miami being a great cultural city with plenty to offer, especially in the summer, having games there would make almost no sense at all. It also is one of the smaller U.S. proposed stadiums listed in the bid.

Even though the Bengals had a great season, it doesn’t make Paul Brown Stadium, or Cincinnati in general a destination for tourists. Easily the worst site for a World Cup on the bid. 

Camping World Stadium in Orlando only seats 60,000 when most other U.S. options seat much more, and the stadium itself feels almost disjointed, with the second-level seats feeling too separated from the rest of the fans.  

Lumen Field in Seattle is a bit too vertical for the liking of fans for a World Cup match, meaning third-level fans will be well too high up in the sky to view the match. Also, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough Massachusetts is far too removed from a large city to be appropriate for hosting this type of event in the U.S.

The following is a list of the 11 best stadiums in the United States, all of which seat over 70,000: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA), MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ), AT&T Stadium (Arlington, TX), Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, MO), Empower Field at Mile High (Denver, CO), NRG Stadium (Houston TX), M&T-Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA), Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA), Nissan Stadium (Nashville, TN), and Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco, CA).