US, Canada, Mexico Win Bid to Host FIFA Soccer World Cup 2026
Posted on: June 13, 2018, 10:30h.
Last updated on: June 13, 2018, 09:42h.
The 2026 World Cup will be co-hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, following FIFA vote in Moscow Wednesday, just 24 hours before this year’s tournament was due to kick off.
Fears that geopolitics and US President Donald Trump’s unpopularity abroad might derail the North American bid proved to be unfounded. The campaign had been unnerved by a swell of support for the competing Moroccan bid in recent months, but ultimately North America won comfortably, 134 bids to 65.
“Thank you for the incredible privilege,” US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro told the FIFA members after the vote. “Football today is the only victor,” he added. He was talking about soccer.
FIFA delegates preferred to avoid the controversy of previous votes that awarded the competition to Russia and Qatar in opting for the vastly superior North American bid, which already has all the infrastructure in place to host the tournament.
By contrast, Morocco would have had to either build or renovate all 14 stadiums that were listed in its proposal as host venues.
FIFA also followed the money by going with North America, and money is the language it talks. The campaign promised to generate an $11 billion profit for FIFA, almost twice than of the Moroccan proposal, which would mean almost $500 million each for the individual soccer federations that comprise the FIFA voting bloc.
It will be the first time in the World Cup’s history that it will be hosted by three countries (in 2002 it was hosted by Japan and South Korea), but most of the action will take place in the US — some 60 of the total 80 matches. The first and last time the US hosted the World Cup was 1994.
Boon for US Betting in 2026
It will be good news, too, for the new US sports betting market, which will look very different in eight years’ time. H2 Gambling Capital predicts that 19 states will legalize sports betting within the next five years, by which time its revenues will outstrip those of the UK — the world’s largest regulated betting market.
The World Cup is the largest betting event in the world by some margin, and the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans flocking to US soil in 2026 will be a boon for the sports books.
Even the natives might catch soccer fever because, as hosts, the US will receive automatic qualification for the tournament. In 2014, when the US advanced to the quarter finals, the Las Vegas sports books reported that betting handle for its “other” category, which includes soccer, ballooned to almost four times the normal amount.
This year, with the US having failed to qualify, those revenues are expected to be much lower.