On Friday, March 16, the United Bid to secure the 2026 FIFA World Cup submitted its Bid Book to FIFA. Here are five things you should know about the comprehensive effort between the national federations of Canada, Mexico and the United States to bring the World Cup back to North America.
Together, Canada, Mexico and the United States have successfully hosted 13 FIFA events, which is the most of any trio of geographically connected nations in the world. That figure includes six different FIFA World Cups (three Men’s and three Women’s) as well as six youth World Cups and the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Along with holding current attendance records for the FIFA Confederations Cup and U-17 World Cup, Mexico also set then record figures when it hosted both the 1970 and 1986 FIFA World Cups. The 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States surpassed those marks and holds still-standing records in both average (68,991) and overall attendance (3,587,538). The overall attendance record is made more impressive considering the 24-team tournament included only 52 matches, compared to the 32 team and 64 games that have made up the five editions since.
Additionally, the memorable 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup still holds the record for highest average attendance for that tournament with 37,319 per match. At 1,194,215, the 16-team tournament also held the overall attendance record until 2015, when the expanded 24-team FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada took the figure to 1,353,506 total spectators – a record for any FIFA tournament outside the men’s World Cup.
Hosting a FIFA World Cup is an extraordinary honor and incredible opportunity. Under the expanded format that will begin with the 2026 edition, the greater number of teams (48) and matches (80) necessitates more stadiums and modern infrastructure, as well as the ability to support larger populations of fans, whether they are attending matches in person, participating in a FIFA Fan Fest, or connecting from across the globe.
One of the huge benefits of the United Bid is that each of the 23 Candidate Host Cities (17 in the U.S. and three each in Canada and Mexico) already exceed the infrastructure requirements outlined by FIFA. Chief among those is that each city has modern, large capacity stadia that are already built and have a confirmed tenant or use for after the tournament, to carry on a sustainable legacy following the competition.
As time goes on, all 23 Candidate Host Cities are continuously upgrading their sports facilities and other existing infrastructure, integrating the latest technology and most advanced capabilities, training, and knowledge. These enhancements go beyond FIFA’s minimum requirements, so what is state-of-the-art today remains state-of-the-art in 2026, providing benefit to the global football community and the operational readiness that these improvements offer.
WORLD CLASS TRAINING SITE OPTIONS
Between Major League Soccer, Liga MX, NFL and NCAA facilities, more than 150 existing world-class Training Sites and Base Camp options have been secured for the 48 participant teams.
With the multi-cultural offerings available across North America, teams will be able to find all the comforts of home -- favorite foods, local culture, places of worship, native language speakers (more than 300 different languages are spoken here) – wherever that home may be.
INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE
Along with a proven wealth of experience in hosting major sporting events, each of the Candidate Host Cities have existing world-class transportation, accommodation, medical, technology, and other infrastructure, meeting or exceeding the requirements outlined by FIFA, and ensuring the largest-ever FIFA World Cup will be delivered with certainty.
EXPECTED COMMERCIAL SUCCESS
With all three nations having already shown huge success in hosting previous FIFA events, their combined efforts provide a reasonable expectation for continued commercial potential in 2026.
Across every metric – ticket sales, television audiences and rights fees, digital engagement, partner involvement, community support, environmental, social and economic impact, and more – the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ in North America has the potential to deliver something extraordinary for FIFA and football. The United Bid’s hosting vision and strategy projects more than 5.8 million tickets will be sold, generating in excess of $2 billion in ticketing revenue and ensuring every stadium for every match will be filled with passionate supporters from around the world.
With a combined population that will approach 550 million, and a billion people in the Americas by 2026, the direct influence of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America is significant. North America is already the largest sports sponsorship market in the world, with companies headquartered in the region contributing over 25% of all worldwide sports sponsorship spending, not including the more than $40 billion spent in Canada, Mexico, and the United States on television, radio, internet, and print advertising for sports programs and other sports-oriented content.
By combining multiple time zones, and including the entire CONCACAF region in planning, the United Bid opens up myriad of options to connect fans, broadcasters, and commercial partners everywhere. North America is the most lucrative region in the world for football, and staging the Competition here provides the opportunity for FIFA to expand into new commercial fronts and increase economic possibilities – by deepening connections to existing football enthusiasts, while also welcoming millions of new fans to the global football community – and establish new business and engagement models that support future organizers.