A total of 200 delegates representing every country registered with Federation Internationale de Football Association cast their vote, selecting the North American bid 134 to 65 over a bid from Morocco, with one voting for neither bid. The U.S. proposed to host 60 out of the 80 matches, leaving Canada and Mexico with 10 fixtures each.
By the time the first World Cup ball is kicked in the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026, MLS will be at least a 28-team league, and if attendance growth and salary spending growth continues at its current pace, the league should be at a point where it is ready to compete with any team in the Western Hemisphere, and most leagues in Europe.
Of the 80 games, ten matches will be held in Canada, ten in Mexico and 60 in the USA with the final played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets. Canada has never held the competition, but it did host the 2015 Women's World Cup.
The 2026 World Cup will expand to 48 teams from 32, and will feature a new format of 16 round-robin groups of three teams with the top two from each pool advancing to a 32-nation knockout round.
Mexico previously hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986.
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Canada's only appearance at the World Cup came in 1986 when it loss all three of its games and crashed out in the first round.
Eight years ago, the US was in a similar position, when it bid for the 2022 tournament.
The value of World Cup sponsorship may have fluctuated recently, but overall it has grown strongly in the past two decades with Fifa's 2015-2018 cycle revenues representing more than twice the amount for the 1999-2002 period.
Neilsen concludes that "Fifa's Chinese deals can be seen as the country's corporations rowing behind the national effort to develop the game and attract the World Cup".
CONCACAF, whose president - Canadian Victor Montagliani - played a key role in the bid, called the vote a "monumental victory" for the confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Russian organizers say they expect World Cup spending to exceed $11 billion, though that tally does not include undisclosed spending on some of the new city infrastructure and stadiums that will be used during the event.