On Thursday, FIFA announced the 16 host cities across North America, with three Mexican cities, two from Canada, and 11 cities from the United States selected for one of the biggest tournaments in the world. It will be the first with three co-host countries. FIFA selected the bid as joint hosts in June 2018.
Sixty games are to be played in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on. Canada and Mexico are to host 10 games each.
2026 World Cup host cities
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Kansas City
- Mexico City
- New York/New Jersey
The U.S. cities selected did not include the nine stadiums used at the 1994 World Cup, which was hosted in the states.
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas replaced Dallas’ Cotton Bowl; SoFi Stadium in Inglewood took over for Pasadena’s Rose Bowl; and Levi’s Stadium was chosen instead of Stanford Stadium.
Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Masschusetts, replaced torn-down stadiums that were adjacent, Giants Stadium and Foxboro Stadium.
Orlando’s Camping World was dropped among existing 1994 venues. The Detroit area, where the old Pontiac Silverdome hosted games, was cut in 2018 and Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium was dropped after FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, dropped out. Washington’s RFK Stadium was used in 1994.
Chicago, which hosted the 1994 opener at Solider Field, refused to bid, citing FIFA’s economic demands.
Houston officials react
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner shared his excitement about the announcement.
"It’s just an amazing day," Mayor Turner said. "We all know this is a great city, but for FIFA to acknowledge the greatness of this city by saying will be hosting some of those games, is just incredible."
Chris Canetti, President of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, was thrilled Houston will be a host city.
"This is awesome. What a special feeling. I'm so happy for Houston and for our community," Canetti said. "I know how much this means to everybody. I'm so proud and happy to have led the effort."
The 2026 global tournament will be the first 48-nation World Cup, up from the 32-team format used since 1998. In a tournament likely to run from June 11 to July 12, but possibly start and end a week later, there will be 16 groups of three nations. Each team will play two first-round games instead of three as part of an awkward arrangement in which one nation in each group opens against an opponent who will have already played. The top two in each group advance to a 32-nation knockout bracket.
Revenue has skyrocketed: The 1994 Cup drew a record 3.59 million fans and grossed $580 million, which produced a profit of $133.25 million for FIFA and $50 million for the U.S. organizing committee. FIFA said the 2018 World Cup in Russia produced $5.357 billion in revenue over the four-year cycle and a $3.533 billion surplus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.