The 3-way bid was the only viable option
The 68th FIFA Congress held in Moscow cast 134 votes in favour of US, Canada and Mexico in a triple joint bid for the 2026 World Cup, edging out Morocco that managed to collect only 65 for its single bid. The United States is viewed as the leader of the joint bid effort, considering that the bulk of the football action will be staged across their nation, with both Canada and Mexico playing a small, supportive role in the tournament.
Carlos Cordeiro, the president of US Soccer, highlighted that football is more than just a sport and that it acts like a vessel for bridging the gap between people of different cultures.
“It’s a bit emotional for us today,” said Cordeiro. “The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor, and in that spirit, we wish our Russian hosts and all the teams participating here this month, the very best of luck.”
It is expected that 16 different cities will host the 2026 World Cup, 10 of which will be played in the US alone, while Canada and Mexico have three host cities apiece. The US will also see 60 of the 80 matches played on their soil, with the rest of the games being staged in the other two countries. The 2026 World Cup final is set to be played at the iconic MetLife Stadium right outside of New York City.
Reforms after Blatter were necessary
In recent years, FIFA has been viewed as an organization in disarray that’s in need of urgent reforms to help it get out of the negative spotlight caused by former president Sepp Blatter’s corruption charges. Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president since 2016, has attempted to restructure football’s governing body with a number of reforms that aimed to get FIFA out of a “crisis.”
Even the vote that saw US, Canada and Mexico win their joint bid was held in Moscow, right before the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This reflects just how far FIFA has come after scandal-marred years, which were heavily linked with controversial decisions to host the tournament in upcoming 2018 Russia and in 2022 Qatar.
Ironically though, just like money was the reason behind Blatter’s expulsion from football, money also plays a big part of the restructuring process under Infantino. The 2026 World Cup is expected to be expanded to 48 teams – instead of the current format of 32 nations – which will significantly increase the marketing potential of the tournament, according to providers of internet betting in Canada.
This means that some of FIFA’s biggest corporate partners like Adidas, Coca-Cola and Dalian Wanda Group will have the opportunity to brandish their products to a greater audience, especially since three nations are set to host the tournament in six years time.
On top of that, other partners like NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and 21st Century Fox are also set to reap huge benefits from the increased team format as they’ll be able to broadcast matches directly in their language (English). For the upcoming tournament in Russia, the aforementioned companies and other media giants will most likely have to buy secondary rights from the main broadcasters in the region, which could decrease their earning potential during the month-long competition.