A day before Canada, USA, and Mexico officially submit their bid to FIFA in hopes of hosting the 2026 World Cup, the United Bid has revealed their list of candidate host cities.
The list has been narrowed down to 23 cities, as Vancouver, Chicago and Minneapolis decided to pull out, citing concerns cost uncertainty. That list will be narrowed down to 16 should the bid prove to be successful.
Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton are the remaining Canadian cities in the running, with two or three of them splitting the 10 matches allotted for north of the border.
“On behalf of Canada Soccer, we congratulate our three Candidate Host Cities for their inclusion in the Bid Book and thank them and the federal government for their unwavering support of the United Bid,” said Canada’s bid director, Peter Montopoli in a media release.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first to be played with an expanded 48-team format, requiring more stadiums and infrastructure than ever before. The United Bid estimates that more than 5.8 million tickets will be sold, generating in excess of $2 billion in ticketing revenue.
The United Bid’s plan also calls for three matches – one in each country – to open the tournament.
“Canada, Mexico, and the United States have joined together to deliver a United Bid that offers FIFA and its member associations the power of unity, the promise of certainty, and the potential of extraordinary opportunity,” said John Kristick, executive director (and rhymer extraordinaire) of the United Bid.
“We are confident that the combination of our 23 existing world-class stadiums, 150 existing elite training facilities, and our modern and interconnected transportation network can help FIFA to achieve new records for attendance and revenue, which will allow the entire global football community to improve and grow.”
While the North American bid is the clear frontrunner in terms of infrastructure, it’s expected to be a close race with Morocco, as anti-American sentiment could reportedly play a factor in the decision. FIFA will announce their choice on June 13, the eve of the opening game of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Here’s the list of North American cities still in contention, as part of the United Bid: