The World Cup is coming to America; while making a quick stop to Canada and Mexico, six stops to be exact. The United Bid is not an unprecedented World Cup structure but is unique in many ways. Simply the travel distance is massive. To give a perspective, a flight from London to Milan is one-hour and fifty-minutes. Lisbon to Brussels is two-hours and forty-minutes. On average flights do not exceed three hours across Europe. For 2026, flights will surpass this average, with a common flight from LA to NYC is five-hours and a half. Orlando to Boston is three-hours. However, the structure of how qualifying games will be played will make this less painful than it sounds. Six cities combined for Canada and Mexico, where the United States will have ten cities to host. While some are already confirmed, the list is still up for grabs.
Sixty of the eighty planned matches, 48 countries, are set to take place in the U.S., including all games from the quarterfinals onwards. By June 2020, FIFA will pare down the list of U.S cities to 10. According to Boston Consulting Group’s 2017 City-Level Impact Assessment, cities that host between five and six World Cup matches could welcome up to 450,000 visitors who could generate approximately $70 million in direct visitor spending and an estimated $190 million in direct impact.
A few of FIFA’s general requirements give insight into the possible results. A host city must be able to hold at least five matches in a stadium with a capacity of at least 40,000 spectators with strong transportation infrastructure, firm hospitality services, and advanced stadiums with the ability to accommodate the increased number of fans. Some cities are already confirmed; NYC/ New Jersey MetLife Stadium to host the 2026 World Cup final with a capacity of over 82,000 fans.
Of the 23 cities still in contention, 15 boast an MLS team (and for some two), that will be narrowed down to 16.
Potential Cities to host:
Mexico: Guadalajara. Mexico City. Monterrey.
Canada: Edmonton. Montreal. Toronto.
The United States: Atlanta. Baltimore. Boston. Cincinnati. Dallas. Denver. Houston. Kansas City. Los Angeles. Miami. Nashville. New York/New Jersey. Orlando. Philadelphia. San Francisco/San Jose. Seattle.
That leaves the USA with ten cities to be part of the world biggest ever mega event. Who will it be? So far every city is running a bid campaign to earn that right.
—end of part one—