Sports

SoFi Stadium, Rose Bowl finalists for 2026 World Cup matches

FIFA will select the host cities for the 2026 World Cup from 23 candidates in the United States, Mexico and Canada on Thursday, setting the stage for the largest and most challenging tournament in World Cup history.

Two Southern California stadiums — SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena — are among the finalists. FIFA, the world governing body of football, is expected to select 16 venues, including up to a dozen in the United States

The World Cup field will grow to a record 48 teams and 80 games by 2026, with 60 expected to be played in the United States and 10 each in Canada and Mexico. Canada has proposed hosting games in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, while Mexico offer Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, which has already hosted two World Cup finals.

Among the finalists are 17 stadiums in the USA. SoFi Stadium, the world’s most expensive stadium at more than $5 billion, hosted last February’s Super Bowl and has long been a favorite of FIFA officials, despite the artificial turf pitch being too narrow for a World Cup pitch record.

Also on the list is the Rose Bowl, which hosted eight games of the 1994 Men’s World Cup, including the final, and four games of the 1999 Women’s World Cup, including the final.

It’s likely that Southern California will be the site of multiple games, including a quarterfinal or semifinal. But the time difference between Europe and Asia speaks against the World Cup final being held here again.

The other candidates:

AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas): A popular home of the Mexico national team, Dallas Cowboys Stadium is the NFL’s largest venue, seating 93,000. Opened in 2009, it features a retractable roof and artificial surface.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta): One of three NFL MLS venues, the 5-year-old stadium features a retractable roof and artificial surface and seats over 75,000.

M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore): Opened in 1998, the home stadium of the Baltimore Ravens offers around 71,000 seats and a lawn area.

Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati): The stadium opened in 2000 and has a seating capacity of about 67,000 with an artificial surface.

Empower Field at Mile High (Denver): The city’s kilometer-high altitude will play a role in their selection or rejection. The venue opened in 2001 and has a capacity of approximately 77,000 with lawn area.

MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ): The 12-year-old stadium, home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, is the big favorite for the World Cup Finals. It has a seating capacity of about 87,000 and an artificial surface.

Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA): The suburb of Foxborough hosted games at the 1994 World Cup, but Gillette Stadium is a different venue. It opened in 2002 and has a capacity of around 70,000 seats.

NRG Stadium (Houston): NRG, one of two Texas stadiums on the list, opened in 2002 and has a seating capacity of about 72,000 and an artificial surface. The retractable roof and air conditioning will be important given the summer heat and humidity in the area.

Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.): The second oldest stadium on the list, Arrowhead opened in 1972 and has been renovated several times, most recently in 2010. Seating capacity is approximately 76,000 and it has a grass turf.

Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida): Miami seems like a no-brainer to get at least a game. The venue with around 67,000 seats, a lawn and a spectator roof was opened in 1987 and renovated several times. It has hosted numerous international football exhibitions.

Nissan Stadium (Nashville): Nashville is a longshot, playing to its cultural prominence as the home of country music. Opened in 1999, the stadium hosted group matches during the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was also the venue for World Cup qualifiers. It has a capacity of about 70,000 and a grass area.

Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida): If Miami gets a game, it’s unlikely Orlando would. The market has World Cup experience since the stadium, then known as the Citrus Bowl, hosted matches from the 1994 World Cup. The 65,000-seat stadium opened in 1936 but has undergone several facelifts. It has an artificial surface.

Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia): When the facility opened in 2003, its first event was a football match between Manchester United and Barcelona. The stadium serves as the home of the Philadelphia Eagles and Temple University. The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup final was played at the stadium as Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1. The stadium seats almost 70,000 spectators and has an artificial surface.

Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, California): Opened in 2014, the stadium has hosted a Super Bowl and several major soccer games. It has a capacity of about 71,000 and a grass area.

Lumen Field (Seattle): Home to the NFL’s Seahawks, NWSL’s OL Reign and MLS’s Sounders, the stadium opened in 2002 and has a seating capacity of approximately 69,000.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2022-06-16/sofi-stadium-and-rose-bowl-among-venue-finalists-2026-world-cup-matches SoFi Stadium, Rose Bowl finalists for 2026 World Cup matches

Emma Bowman

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