Which venues could host games for 2026 World Cup held in U.S., Mexico and Canada?
With the United bid of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. having emerged victorious in its quest to secure the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup, attention can now shift -- in part -- to the host cities that will be selected.
The likes of Chicago, which hosted the opening match at the 1994 World Cup, as well as Vancouver, the site of the 2015 Women's World Cup final, opted not to be part of the bid. That said, there are still 23 other potential cities spread out among the three countries that should do just fine.
It's worth noting that FIFA, and not the United bid, will determine which cities get chosen. But the most likely scenario is that 10 will be in the U.S, with Mexico and Canada having three each. Here is a list of the likely venues.
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Edmonton: Commonwealth Stadium has hosted numerous events over the years, including matches at the 2015 Women's World Cup, and seats over 60,000. Though it will require a temporary grass surface in 2026.
Montreal: Olympic Stadium may be showing its age in some respects (it will be nearly 50 years old when the tournament kicks off) but it remains the city's largest soccer venue, seating over 66,000 fans.
Toronto: BMO Field, the home of Toronto FC, will likely be the smallest venue to be chosen, though its capacity can be expanded to accommodate 40,000 fans.
Mexico City: The Mexican capital seeks to make history with the only stadium to host three different World Cups: the Azteca. It's the largest stadium in the country with a capacity of 87,000 fans, and despite being built in the 1960s, it has been remodelled on several occasions. It has already seen Pele (1970) and Diego Maradona (1986) lift the World Cup and is eager to open its gates to new international superstars.
Monterrey: BBVA Bancomer Stadium has been home to Monterrey's Rayados since Aug. 2, 2015, and has a capacity of 53,000, making it the most modern complex in the league. It's location in Monterrey, one of the most important cities in the country and near the U.S. border, would help facilitate travel for fans.
Guadalajara: With a capacity of almost 48,000, Chivas Stadium opened its doors in 2010 and is one of the best in the Mexican league. In 2011, barely a year after its inauguration, the stadium hosted the Under-17 World Cup and Pan American Games.
Atlanta: The emergence of MLS side Atlanta United has given more credence to the idea that the ATL is a soccer city. The recently opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of the 2018 MLS All-Star Game) and its climate-controlled environs for more than 70,000 fans likely make Atlanta one of the top choices on FIFA's list, and it's a proposed semifinal venue.
Boston: Technically, the matches will be held in Foxborough at the 66,000-capacity Gillette Stadium, but the opportunity to serve the Boston area, one of the locales used at the 1994 World Cup, will be one that FIFA won't want to pass up.
Dallas: AT&T Stadium, aka JerryWorld (for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones), figures to be one of the venues chosen given that it is indoors. Dallas' proximity to Mexico could also help mitigate what will be long travel distances. It has the capacity for 100,000 fans and is another proposed semifinal venue.
Los Angeles: The second-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. is a no-brainer to be on FIFA's list. The only question is whether FIFA goes with playing games at the Rose Bowl (site of the 1994 final) or the soon-to-be-completed Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park, which is slated to open in 2020 and can expand to accommodate over 100,000.
Kansas City: With Chicago out of the running, a city in the country's heartland will be needed, and the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium fits the bill.
Miami: It seems likely that FIFA will choose either Miami or Orlando but not both. FIFA can't go wrong with either Florida locale, but Miami's reputation as the more glamorous city could see it get the nod.
New York: Similar to L.A., the biggest metro area in the U.S. is a lock to be chosen, and MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL's Jets and Giants, is perfect. The United bid team also proposed that it would hold the World Cup final in the 83,000-seat stadium.
Seattle: The Pacific Northwest has a deep passion for the sport, with the Seattle Sounders leading the way in MLS attendance for many years until Atlanta beat it out last season. CenturyLink Field holds 72,000.
San Francisco: Levi's Stadium, which is actually down the road from San Francisco proper in Santa Clara, has already hosted several high-profile matches, including four at the Copa America Centenario in 2016.
Washington: The nation's capital figures to be in the mix for optics if nothing else. But Washington's candidacy runs deeper, with the area possessing an extensive history of support for the game, and FedExField offering a capable stadium with 82,000 seats.