Abundance of U.S. stadium options evident on World Cup 2026 initial list

The announcement that the United Bid Committee will target 37 stadiums in 34 U.S. markets for its bid to host the 2026 World Cup immediately sparked lots of local interest. The bid committee will have many options to get down to what will likely be as few as 12-15 U.S. venues in 2026 if FIFA awards the United States, Mexico and Canada the hosting rights.

1. All but one U.S. stadium has a capacity of at least 60,000 seats. Only one of the five FIFA-ready stadiums in Morocco, the sole 2026 big competitor, has a capacity of even 50,000: Rabat's Stade Prince Moulay Abdellah (52,000 seats).

2. All but three current NFL stadiums are on the list. The exceptions: New Era Field (Buffalo Bills), Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Raiders) and StubHub Center (temporary home of the Chargers).

3. Almost almost the stadiums are soccer-friendly. Not without some difficulties -- artificial turf or narrow dimensions -- almost all the stadiums the USA is considering now have a history of welcoming big soccer matches: Gold Cup, International Champions Cup or international friendlies. Just three stadiums -- all shared with NFL teams -- are or will be the home to MLS teams: Boston's Gillette Stadium, Seattle's CenturyLink Field and Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

4. Will domed stadiums help or hurt? Detroit's Silverdome was a novelty in 1994 -- the first domed stadium used at a World Cup -- but eight NFL stadiums with domes or retractable roofs were on today's list for 2026. All but the University of Phoenix Stadium currently has some kind of artificial surface. As FIFA and local organizers deal with the issue of summer heat -- Qatar 2022 was moved to November-December -- these stadiums with domes or retractable roofs might become attractive.

5. World Cup 2022 bid serves as guidance. In 2010, the USA submitted a list of 18 cities representing 20 stadiums. From that list, only Seattle's Husky Stadium and Atlanta's Georgia Dome aren't on the initial list for the 2026 bid. A list of 18 U.S. cities would seem to a good target for the 2026 bid, to go along with three Mexican cities and probably four Canadian cities. The competition in 2010 was such that Chicago's Soldier Field didn't even make the final cut.

6. A lot has changed since 2010. Levi's Stadium, host of the 2017 Gold Cup final, opened in 2014, Minnesota's U.S. Bank Stadium opened in 2016, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta will open in the fall, and new NFL stadiums are being built in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

7. Key number is 12. In 1994, just nine venues were used for the World Cup, then a 24-team tournament. At least 12 venues are proposed to be used -- perhaps as many as 15? -- in 2026 for what will be the first 48-team tournament.

8. Bid committee has lots of leverage. Hosting a World Cup requires stadium operators to agree to lots of restrictions and inconveniences, but there's such competition that the bid committee will have lots of leverage in exacting the terms it -- and FIFA -- will demand. In Los Angeles alone, there's the Rose Bowl, host of the 1994 World Cup final, the Coliseum, home to USC, and the LA Stadium at Hollywood Park, which is being built for the NFL Rams and Chargers and slated to open in 2020.

USA (34 cities, 37 stadiums)
*Atlanta, GA
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (NFL future) 75,000
Baltimore, MD M&T Bank Stadium (NFL) 71,008
Birmingham, AL Legion Field 71,594
Boston, MA (Foxborough) Gillette Stadium (NFL) 65,892
Charlotte, NC Bank of America Stadium (NFL) 75,400
Chicago, IL Soldier Field (NFL) 61,500
Cincinnati, OH Paul Brown Stadium (NFL) 65,515
Cleveland, OH FirstEnergy Stadium (NFL) 68,710
Dallas, TX Cotton Bowl 92,100
Dallas, TX (Arlington) AT&T Stadium (NFL) 105,000
Denver, CO Sports Authority Field at Mile High (NFL) 76,125
Detroit, MI Ford Field (NFL) 65,000
Green Bay, WI Lambeau Field (NFL) 81,441
Houston, TX NRG Stadium (NFL) 71,500
Indianapolis, IN Lucas Oil Stadium (NFL) 65,700
Jacksonville, FL EverBank Field (NFL) 64,000
Kansas City, MO Arrowhead Stadium (NFL) 76,416
*Las Vegas, NV Raiders Stadium (NFL future) 72,000
Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (NFL) 78,500
*Los Angeles, CA (Inglewood) LA Stadium at Hollywood Park (NFL future) TBD
Los Angeles, CA (Pasadena) Rose Bowl 87,527
Miami, FL Hard Rock Stadium (NFL) 65,767
Minneapolis, MN U.S. Bank Stadium (NFL) 63,000
Nashville, TN Nissan Stadium (NFL) 69,143
New Orleans, LA Mercedes-Benz Superdome (NFL) 72,000
New York/New Jersey (East Rutherford, NJ) MetLife Stadium (NFL) 82,500
Orlando, FL Camping World Stadium 65,000
Philadelphia, PA Lincoln Financial Field (NFL) 69,328
Phoenix, AZ (Glendale, AZ) University of Phoenix Stadium (NFL) 73,000
Pittsburgh, PA Heinz Field (NFL) 68,400
Salt Lake City, UT Rice-Eccles Stadium 45,807
San Antonio, TX Alamodome 72,000
San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium 71,500
San Francisco/San Jose, CA (Santa Clara) Levi's Stadium (NFL) 75,000
Seattle, WA CenturyLink Field (NFL) 69,000
Tampa, FL Raymond James Stadium (NFL) 73,309
Washington, DC (Landover, MD) FedEx Field (NFL) 82,000
*Not yet open.

5 comments about "Abundance of U.S. stadium options evident on World Cup 2026 initial list ".
  1. Nick Daverese, August 16, 2017 at 10:58 a.m.

    So does all that mean we will get the tournament in 2026 I hope so. Now all I have to do is live another 9 yrs. that will make me 84 when it starts. I think I can do that or die trying ;)

  2. Footballer Forever replied, August 16, 2017 at 5:14 p.m.

    Nick, with Donald Duck as president and sleeping with Putin, North Korea wanting to Nuke us, White supremacists taking center stage, anti-immimgration feelings, and a lot other chaos to come, you'd be bettrr off watching World Cup 2026 in spirit.

  3. Goal Goal, August 16, 2017 at 1:59 p.m.

    Happy Birthday in the future-Nick!!!

  4. Nick Daverese, August 16, 2017 at 8:43 p.m.

    Footballer forever you should take more time and see what is really going on with the press and trump. This is not a political site, but it amazing to be just how uninformed people are about this. I will just say one thing. Even evil and kkk and white supremacists are evil have the right to free speech. The left do not want to give the same right to anyone that they don't agree with would you concede just that or not.

    Now we had supremacists who have weapons and use them. Then we have protesters who have weapons and use them. Anyone who uses them are no better then the supremacists. Especially when just those people are paid to use them by anarchists. Both these groups want publicity. The kkk every now and then use it to create more kkk people they have been doing it for years. The anarchists use it for publicity to blame who they want to blame like trump.

    Then you have the rest the people who demonstrate peacefully for other reasons. On the North Korean fat kid. His country is poor he uses threat to get more aid and still breaks the deal. Trump told him what will happen if they attack us or our friends. Plus there are sanctions added to the mix. China is an instigator. If we attack first we will have to deal with them maybe or maybe not. They make a lot of money selling to us there not going to blow that gravy train. All I know is I want to buy electronics made by a US company but their is none yet. Hopefully we can change that before I go.

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