#33 – Soccer is Coming to America – Bid For the 2026 World Cup

North America Won The Bid for the 2026 World Cup!

What Did We Win? 

The United States, Canada, and Mexico will co-host the 2026 World Cup. This will be a 48 team World Cup - a global phenomenon - with 80 games played in total. 60 games will be played in the US. 10 games will be played in Canada. And 10 games will be played in Canada. North America won this bid by a FIFA Congress vote of 134 to 65. 

What North America won, however, is much bigger than the humble numbers above suggest. For the soccer community and the sports community in general, this is huge! Soccer is the most popular sport in the world! We just dropped the tailgate and invited fans from all over the world to come party with us! 

The hype, commentary, and spending that will go into making this event remembered around the world will infuse tremendous energy into North American Soccer - and it couldn't have come at a better time! After not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, this is exactly the shot of adrenaline that the Untied States needs to reenergize our love for the sport. 

Alexi Lalas

1994 World Cup (Played in the US) / Soccer Analyst for Fox

"This gives us a beacon."

What This Win Means for Youth Soccer

The last time the US hosted a world cup was in 1994. That one event played a role in the establishment of Major League Soccer (the MLS). The MLS started in December of 1993. Events like the World Cup have the potential for inspiring tectonic shifts in the soccer landscape. 

As a nation, we can expect an explosion of soccer interest and participation. The press is going to be talking about the upcoming games. Sponsors are going to be vying for advertising space and tailoring their ads to have a soccer theme. Kid will be learning about new heroes and wanting to get on the field and show off their new skills. 

American's Sports Interest Landscape in 2014

32%
American Football
6%
Basketball
6%
Soccer

Source: The Harris Poll - See below for link

In a recent interview between Colin Cowherd and Alexi Lalas (see below for link), Colin cites a more recent Harris poll that shows the interest landscape has changed. Football, he says is 30% today. Basketball and Soccer are now 11%. I was unable to find the source he referenced. 

An event like the World Cup is bound to have a profound impact on youth sports. We can expect to see memberships going up, video games coming out, fields being improved, clothing item sales going up, and more. 

What the Financial Impact?

The US promised FIFA an $11 Billion profit. The event is expected to generate $14 Billion in revenue. 

To put this in perspective, a last Superbowl 51 was reportedly breaking records at generating $ 392 Million in ads shown during the game. Merchandise reportedly generated $88 Million in merchandise revenue, $82 Million on food, and $710 Million on alcohol. All of these numbers combined are still only a fraction of the money that the US is predicting will be generated by the 2026 World Cup. 

If consider the additional revenue generated in multiple cities for TV rights, local entertainment of visiting fans, and the hype and excitement that will be created by contact with so many party goers, the financial impact of this event is even higher!

What Cities will Host Games?

Mexico

  • Guadalajara (Estadio Akron): Capacity: 46,232 (Expandable to 48,071)
  • Mexico City (Estadio Azteca): Capacity: 87,523
  • Monterrey (Estadio BBVA Bancomer): Capacity: 53,500

Canada

  • Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium): Capacity: 56,302
  • Montreal (Olympic Stadium): Capacity: 61,004 (Expandable to 73,000)
  • Toronto (BMO Field): Capacity: 30,000 (Expandable to 45,500)

United States

  • Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium): Capacity: 71,000
  • Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium): Capacity: 71,006
  • Boston (Gillette Stadium): Capacity: 65,878 (Expandable to 70,000)
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    Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium): Capacity: 65,515 (Expandable to 67,402)  
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    Dallas (AT&T Stadium): Capacity: 80,000
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    Denver (Sports Authority Field at Mile High): Capacity: 76,125 (Expandable to 77,595)
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    Houston (NRG Stadium): Capacity: 71,795 (Expandable to 72,220) 
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    Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium): Capacity: 76,416 
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    Los Angeles (Rose Bowl): Capacity: 92,000 
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    Miami (Hard Rock Stadium): Capacity: 64,767 (Expandable to 67,518)
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    Nashville (Nissan Stadium): Capacity: 69,143 (Expandable to 75,000)
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    New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium): Capacity: 82,500 (Expandable to 87,157)
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    Orlando (Camping World Stadium): Capacity: 60,219 (Expandable to 65,000)
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    Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field): Capacity: 69,176 (Expandable to 69,328) 
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    San Francisco (Levi's Stadium): Capacity: 68,500 (Expandable to 75,000)
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    Seattle (CenturyLink Field): Capacity: 69,000 (Expandable to 72,000)
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    Washington, D.C. (FedExField): Capacity: 82,000

Resources

  • “Football's Doing The Touchdown Dance As America's Favorite Sport.” The Harris Poll, 21 Apr. 2018, theharrispoll.com/with-the-big-game-just-around-the-corner-football-fans-may-be-starting-to-wonder-whether-or-not-their-beloved-game-is-still-americas-favorite-sport-back-in-1985-there-was-only-a-one-point-differen/.
  • “Super Bowl Revenue: How Much Is Made and Where Does It Go?” Verdict, Verdict, 22 Jan. 2018, www.verdict.co.uk/super-bowl-revenue/.
  • Das, Andrew. “North American World Cup Bid Projects $11 Billion Profit for FIFA.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 May 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/sports/2026-world-cup.html.
  • Gonzalez, Roger. “World Cup 2026: What Are the Host Cities in USA, Mexico and Canada Going to Be?” CBSSports.com, CBS Sports, 14 June 2018, www.cbssports.com/soccer/world-cup/news/world-cup-2026-what-are-the-host-cities-in-usa-mexico-and-canada-going-to-be/.
  • “Alexi Lalas Details the Significance of Winning the North American World Cup Bid | SOCCER | THE HERD.” YouTube, 13 June 2018, youtu.be/vWkGyxmjtNU.

The Soccer Sidelines

Soccer Dad, Coach, and Club President who is devoted to developing kids and their families. With a diverse background in leadership in other settings, David is focused on empowering parents, players, and coaches to focus on the stuff that really matters in youth sports.

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