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FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday boldly predicted that the soccer governing body would announce the cities that will host the 2026 World Cup.

The next World Cup will be hosted by the three nations for the first time. The United States, Mexico and Canada all take part in one of the largest sporting events in the world. Infantino said he expected soccer to be the biggest sport on the continent by then.

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Fans wait on FIFA's announcement on 6th Avenue in New York on Thursday, June 16, 2022, about the host cities for the 2026 World Cup.

Fans wait on FIFA’s announcement of host cities for the 2026 World Cup on Thursday, June 16, 2022 in New York on 6th Avenue.
(AP Photo / Noah K. Murray)

“By 2026, soccer – or football – will be the No. 1 sport in this part of the world,” he said.

NFL and college football also dominate broadcast waves and pro football really does not stop with coverage on the sport from month to month.

The NFL has an average of 17.1 million viewers for television and digital in the 2021 season, while the 2018 World Cup in Russia averaged 5.04 million on US English and Spanish language TV.

“You are leading the world in many areas. In the World No. 1 sport you must aim to lead the world,” Infantino said of North America.

CONCACAF President Victor Montaglia, who oversees the governing body for soccer in the region, added: “I know it’s giggles and laughter. He did not joke.”

The playing sites revealed as the World Cup 2026 tournament will be held in 3 countries

The sites are divided into three areas.

Western region

  • Vancouver, Canada (BC Palace)
  • Seattle, Washington (Lumenfield)
  • Santa Clara, California (Lewis Stadium)
  • Los Angeles, California (SoFi Stadium)
  • Guadalajara, Mexico (Acron Stadium)

Central Region

  • Kansas City, Missouri (Yarrow Head Stadium)
  • Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium)
  • Atlanta, Georgia (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
  • Houston, Texas (NRG Stadium)
  • Monterrey, Mexico (BBVA Stadium)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (Aztec Stadium)

Eastern region

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on the left and New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the 2026 FIFA World Cup Host City Selection Watch Party at Liberty State Park in Jersey City on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on the left and New York City Mayor Eric Adams at the 2026 FIFA World Cup Host City Selection Watch Party at Liberty State Park in Jersey City on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
(AP Photo / Stephen Jeremiah)

  • Toronto, Canada (BMO field)
  • Foxborough, Massachusetts (Gillette Stadium)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Lincoln Financial Field)
  • Miami Gardens, Florida (Hard Rock Stadium)
  • East Rutherford, New Jersey (Metlife Stadium)

It will be the first 48-nation World Cup to rise from a 32-team system used since 1998. There are 16 groups in the three countries. Each team plays two first-round games instead of three, with one country in each group starting with an opponent who has already played.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions at the 2026 Soccer World Cup press conference in New York on Thursday, June 16, 2022.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino answers questions at the 2026 Soccer World Cup press conference in New York on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
(AP Photo / Noah K. Murray)

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The first two teams in each group advance to the 32-nation knockout bracket.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.