This year’s World Cup is only just getting underway in Russia, but some fans are already looking ahead to 2026, when the United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the world’s biggest soccer tournament, with the final to be held at MetLife Stadium in New York – home of the Giants and Jets of the National Football League. Question is: How did the US outdo a high-risk bid by Morocco for the 2026 FIFA World Cup? I believe that the deciding factor is that the US, Canada and Mexico already have existing venues and know what to do with them once the World Cup is completed.
The problem with hosting major international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup is that nations may have to build new stadiums and might not know what to do with them once those events are over. In the case of the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics (to be held in Los Angeles), the United States, Canada and Mexico have uses for the stadiums that will be used.
Take for example the stadium that will be hosting the 2026 World Cup final – MetLife Stadium. There’s already a use for that stadium post-World Cup. MetLife Stadium plays host to two NFL teams in the fall and winter months, as do most other stadiums in the US. The stadium also hosts concerts throughout the summer months. Again, so do most other stadiums in the United States – like the Rose Bowl (which hosted the 1994 World Cup final), Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Clearly MetLife Stadium as well as other venues in the US are covered.
For the Mexican side, we’ll use Estadio Azteca as the example. When not in World Cup mode, the stadium hosts a multitude of soccer teams including the Mexican National Team, Club America and Cruz Azul.
The other two stadiums on the Mexico bid book were Estadio Akron in Guadalajara, which plays host to CD Guadalajara and Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey – home to CF Monterrey. Mexico, without a doubt, is covered.
Now we go north of the border to Canada. For this, we’ll use Toronto’s BMO Field as an example. Sure, it seats just over 30,000, but it’s soccer-specific as it is the home of Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.
The other stadiums on the Canadian bid book were Commonwealth Stadium, home of the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League and Olympic Stadium, which plays host to two teams – Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. That covers Canada.
The US, Canada and Mexico have the stadiums, they know what to do with them once the World Cup is finished and was overall the better bid. Morocco, on the other hand, only had four stadiums that they knew what to do with after the tournament, the other 10 were either planned or under construction. With stats like that, do you really have a winning bid?