MOSCOW—North America secured the right to host the 2026 World Cup, the most popular sporting event on the planet, after soccer’s governing body chose it over a rival bid from Morocco on Wednesday.
With matches held in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, this will mark the first time World Cup matches are played on the North American continent since 1994. For Morocco, it represented a fifth unsuccessful bid in seven tournaments.
The decision, which went by a margin of 134-65, was made as delegates from around the world gathered in Moscow ahead of the 2018 World Cup kickoff on Thursday. With more than three-quarters of FIFA’s income stemming from the tournament, and more than a billion viewers every four years, selecting a host is one of the organization’s most critical tasks.
Not only does the North American bid now expect to break World Cup attendance records—which still stand from the U.S.’s 1994 tournament—but it also promised record profits for FIFA in excess of $10 billion.
The next job for the United bid is to whittle down its preliminary list of 23 candidate host venues to 16. The shortlist includes 18 cities in the U.S., from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, plus three stadiums in Mexico and two in Canada. The United bid didn’t give a time frame for its final selection.
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