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