The USA’s joint bid with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup has begun to take shape.

By Brian Straus
August 15, 2017

The USA’s joint bid with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup began to take shape Tuesday afternoon with the unveiling of the 44 cities in contention to host at least one of the record 80 matches.

The North American bid will go up against one from Morocco for the right to stage the tournament, and a decision could be made as early as next June. The USA, Canada and Mexico are the prohibitive favorites thanks to their size, infrastructure and the fact that CONCACAF will have waited 32 years to host. The 1994 World Cup staged in the USA remains the best-attended despite the fact that only 24 nations competed. The 2026 competition will comprise 48 teams.

The three North American nations’ United Bid Committee announced Tuesday that requests for information had been sent to 44 cities asking them to declare their interest and intentions by September 5. A shortlist of potential venues will be created, with those cities submitting their final proposals by January 2018. The three countries’ World Cup bid, which will include 20-25 possible venues, is due to FIFA in March. The UBC said Tuesday that, “At least 12 locations could ultimately serve as official host cities,” during the tournament, with others possibly under consideration for the preliminary and final draws, team base camps and other activities.

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“The host cities included in our bid will be critical to its success, not only because of their facilities and ability to stage major events, but because they are committed to further developing the sport of soccer by harnessing the impact of hosting a FIFA World Cup,” UBC executive director John Kristick said. “We have had a great response so far and we’re looking forward to working closely with each city and determining the best venues for our official bid that we’ll submit next year.”

Here’s the list of cities and venues under consideration:

USA

37 stadiums in 34 markets

Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Baltimore, M&T Bank Stadium

Birmingham, Legion Field

Boston/Foxborough, Gillette Stadium

Charlotte, Bank of America Stadium

Chicago, Soldier Field

Cincinnati, Paul Brown Stadium

Cleveland, FirstEnergy Stadium

Dallas, Cotton Bowl

Dallas/Arlington, AT&T Stadium

Denver, Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Detroit, Ford Field

Green Bay, Lambeau Field

Houston, NRG Stadium

Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium

Jacksonville, EverBank Field

Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium

Las Vegas, Raiders Stadium

Los Angeles, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles, LA Stadium at Hollywood Park

Los Angeles, Rose Bowl

Miami, Hard Rock Stadium

Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium

Nashville, Nissan Stadium

New Orleans, Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New York/New Jersey, MetLife Stadium

Orlando, Camping World Stadium

Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field

Phoenix/Glendale, University of Phoenix Stadium

Pittsburgh, Heinz Field

Salt Lake City, Rice-Eccles Stadium

San Antonio, Alamodome

San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium

San Francisco/San Jose, Levi’s Stadium

Seattle, CenturyLink Field

Tampa, Raymond James Stadium

Washington, D.C./Landover, FedEx Field

CANADA

Nine stadiums in seven markets

Calgary, McMahon Stadium

Edmonton, Commonwealth Stadium

Montreal, Stade Olympique

Montreal, Stade Saputo

Ottawa, TD Place Stadium

Regina, Mosaic Stadium

Toronto, Rogers Centre

Toronto, BMO Field

Vancouver, BC Place

MEXICO

Three stadiums in three markets

Guadalajara, Estadio Chivas

Mexico City, Estadio Azteca

Monterrey, Estadio Rayados

FIFA requires World Cup stadiums to seat at least 40,000 spectators. Those under consideration for the semifinals must have 60,000 seats and those hosting the opener or final must have 80,000. The USA alone has more than 130 venues that exceed 40,000. Morocco currently has six. The largest is the 52,000-seat Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.

Under the UBC’s current plan, the USA will host 60 games, including every match from the quarterfinals on. Mexico and Canada will split the remaining 20.

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