After a crucial bid among countries across the world, the combination of United States, Mexico and Canada eventually won the hosting rights for 2026 World Cup on Wednesday. The three countries will bring the tournament to North America for the first time since 1994. Voters were persuaded by promises of record crowds, record revenues and, perhaps crucially, a record $11 billion in profit for FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.
The North American bid routed its only challenger, Morocco, by a vote of 134 to 65, after which members of the winning delegation leapt out of their seats to embrace one another and celebrate the end of a frenzied period of lobbying.
Carlos Cordeiro, the president of U.S. Soccer, wiped away tears before making a short speech in which, with his voice trembling, he thanked FIFA’s membership for “the incredible privilege” of hosting sports’ most-watched event.
“It was a very emotional moment for everyone,” Cordeiro said later, recalling the devastation he felt in 2010 when the United States failed to secure the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, which ended up going to Qatar after a much-criticized voting process.
The 2026 tournament will be one of firsts. It will be the first time the World Cup is hosted by three countries, the first time it has a 48-team format, up from 32 teams, and it was the first time the vote was decided by FIFA’s entire membership. Most of the tournament will take place in the United States. Of the 80 matches, 10 will be in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the United States — including the final, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.