BARRIO – The 2022 FIFA men’s World Cup in Qatar hasn’t even happened yet, but the focus is already turning to what will be the biggest World Cup ever held in the history of the tournament in 2026.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature a 48-team expanded format, increasing the field from the current 32-team setup which has existed since 1998.
FIFA on June 16 announced its 16 venue selections for the 2026 event, which for the first time will be held across three countries: North American nations USA, Canada and Mexico will team up to host the event with more teams (48) and matches (80) than ever before.
“This part of the world doesn’t realize what will happen here in 2026,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a press conference after the selection of the venues. “These three countries will be upside down and flipped back again. The world will be invading Canada, Mexico and the United States, and they will be invaded by a big wave of joy and happiness because that’s what football is about.”
In an event that was held at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, the world governing body made its final decisions known with 16 stadiums selected: 11 in the USA alone, three in Mexico and two or two in Canada.
The 16 cities were unveiled by region, starting with cities out west, followed by central region cities and then the five cities in the east. A total of 60 matches will be played on U.S. soil with 10 each in Mexico and Canada.
The specific stages and the number of matches that each stadium will host have yet to be announced and were not part of the venue selection announcement. But after the event, FIFA officials indicated that when it comes to the World Cup final, the capacity will be “first and foremost” among the considerations taken into account.
It’s also worth noting that Toronto will be expanding BMO Field to meet FIFA’s capacity requirements. It will go from its current 30,000 capacity to 45,000 for the event in 2026.
|Canada||Toronto, Ontario||BMO Field||45,500|
|Canada||Vancouver, B.C.||BC Place||54,000|
|Mexico||Guadalajara, Jalisco||Estadio Akron||46,232|
|Mexico||Mexico City||Estadio Azteca||87,523|
|Mexico||Monterrey, Nuevo Leon||Estadio BBVA||53,500|
|USA||Atlanta, Ga.||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||71,000|
|USA||Boston, Mass.||Gillette Stadium||65,878|
|USA||Houston, Tex.||NRG Stadium||71,795|
|USA||Kansas City, Mo.||Arrowhead Stadium||76,416|
|USA||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|USA||Miami, Fla.||Hard Rock Stadium||64,767|
|USA||New York / New Jersey|
(East Rutherford, N.J.)
|USA||Philadelphia, Pa.||Lincoln Financial Field||69,176|
|USA||San Francisco, Calif.|
(Santa Clara, Calif.)
|USA||Seattle, Wash.||Lumen Field||69,000|
Source: Sporting News