World Cup 2026: Who won the race to host World Cup final?

source: Sporting News, The Sun, Sports Business Journal, FIFA; author: Miguel Ciołczyk Garcia

World Cup 2026: Who won the race to host World Cup final? The World Cup final is the most important football event of the quadrennium, so it is no surprise that there is fierce competition to the end for the right to host two of the world's best teams. And recently, some clues have emerged as to who won.


Unique championship, unique occasion

The 2026 World Cup will be the first ever to be played in three countries simultaneously, as the United States, Mexico and Canada have been chosen as hosts. The arenas of the three largest countries in the region, which were recently exempted from the qualifiers, will host 48 teams, which is another novelty, because until now 32 teams have been competing for the title of world champion.

As is well known, Americans love to be at the forefront of progress, so here too the opportunity is extremely tempting, as both the viewership and the profits from hosting the tournament increase with each event. Hosting the final match will, of course, be particularly lucrative, especially as, according to recent reports from Sports Business Journal, FIFA is going to give a lot of freedom to the championship hosts to organise fan zones and attractions, making it easier to increase revenue.

AT&T Stadium© Richard | AT&T Stadium

Which venues were candidates to host the final?

It was clear from the outset that as the largest country, boasting the presence of nine venues on the list of the world's 10 largest stadiums, it would be the USA that would host the all-important final match. Three stadiums were serious candidates:

NameLocationCapacityConstruction cost
SoFi Stadium Inglewood, Kalifornia 70,240 $3.4 billion 
MetLife Stadium

East Rutherford, New Jersey 

82,500 $1.6 billion
AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas 80,000 $1.15 billion

 The venue located in California, despite its attractiveness (it was even chosen to host the Super Bowl the year after the World Cup) was discarded as the first, reportedly due to a disagreement over revenue sharing between FIFA and venue owner Stan Kroenke. What's more, the stadium was said to be pulling out of hosting the tournament altogether. So the suburbs of New York and the city of Arlington were left on the battleground.

When will we (officially) know the winner?

MetLife Stadium was supposed to be the favourite of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who was said to be pushing for New York's candidacy. The problem was that the venue is not particularly attractive in terms of the spectator experience and, in addition, in order to enlarge the playing field to the dimensions required by FIFA it would lose around 1,500 seats and, incidentally, an already meagre capacity advantage over its Texan rival.

This one, on the other hand, located in Arlington, between Fort Worth and Dallas, tempts not only with its giant screen, but also with its modern design and, above all, with the possibility of easily and quickly increasing its capacity to 100,000 seats, thus becoming the largest covered stadium in the world. As it is also struggling to adjust the dimensions of the pitch, the number of seats will probably increase to 90,000.

Despite reports that the decision would be known later this week, FIFA announced that the decision would be announced on February 4, together with information about the host stadiums of other matches during a special broadcast.

AT&T Stadium© Grzegorz Kaliciak | AT&T Stadium

Media leaks have pinpointed the host of the World Cup final?

In mid-January, leaks began to appear which reported that the scales were tipping in favour of the Texas arena, and even that the decision had already been made. This was first reported by The Sun and then the news spread to other media.

In addition, the media were heated up by a post on the official AT&T Stadium page on X, which, using a single emoticon, forwarded a FIFA tweet announcing the date on which the winner of the race would be made public. It is unclear, however, whether this is a provocation, or whether the stadium authorities wanted to make it clear that they would be the ones to win the most important match of the tournament in 2026.

It is then that we will know if the media leaks are true or if there will be a surprise and New York will be given the honour of hosting the final match. One thing is certain - the organisers will have quite a challenge ahead of them to prepare a real international football feast.

MetLife Stadium© Matthew D. Britt (cc: by-nc-sa) | MetLife Stadium