The Major League Soccer (MLS) takes a prominent role, showcasing its growth and influence by selecting five of its soccer stadiums to host matches in the tournament. This selection not only solidifies the MLS's position as a world-class league but also highlights the rise of soccer in North America.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to Atlanta United, is one of the chosen venues and promises to be a stage for intense emotions during the tournament. With an impressive capacity of 71,000 spectators and a attendance record of 73,019 during the 2018 MLS Cup, the stadium is a vibrant choice to host eight games, including a semifinal. Atlanta, a city passionate about the sport, will witness historic moments that will undoubtedly resonate across the continent.
Another renowned stadium is the Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Revolution in Boston. Built in 2002, the stadium boasts a capacity of 64,628 and witnessed an impressive crowd of 61,316 during the 2002 MLS Cup. With seven games in total, including a quarterfinal, the Gillette Stadium promises to provide an electrifying atmosphere for fans and players participating in this global event.
The city of Seattle, known for its fervent fan base, will see the Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Sounders FC, as the venue for six matches. With a capacity of 68,740 spectators, the stadium, opened in 2002, saw its peak attendance during the 2019 MLS Cup with 69,274 in attendance. Seattle's selection as one of the World Cup venues is a testament not only to the excellence of the facilities but also to the contagious passion of local fans.
Toronto also makes its presence felt with BMO Field, where the Toronto FC calls home. Opened in 2007, the stadium with a capacity of 30,991 spectators will host six games, including a round of 16 match. The record of 36,045 spectators during the 2016 MLS Cup highlights BMO Field's ability to create an engaging atmosphere, which will undoubtedly be amplified during the World Cup games.
Vancouver completes the quintet of selected MLS stadiums, with BC Place, home of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Opened in 1983, the stadium has a capacity of 54,500 spectators and will host seven games, including a round of 16 and a quarterfinal match. The record of 60,342 spectators in a game between Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders in 1983 emphasizes the tradition and history of this stadium in the soccer scene.
The decision to include these MLS stadiums as World Cup venues not only elevates the league's prestige but also solidifies the position of the United States and Canada as top destinations for major sports events. By choosing not only traditional soccer cities like New York and Los Angeles but also highlighting emerging MLS markets like Atlanta and Seattle, FIFA recognizes the diversity and passion that permeate North American soccer.
In addition to MLS stadiums, other metropolitan cities have been chosen as venues, all of them being important markets with vibrant fan bases. With New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami also on the list, the 2026 World Cup promises to captivate audiences across the continent.
The choice of MLS stadiums to host the FIFA World Cup 2026 not only emphasizes the league's growth and quality but also puts North American soccer in the spotlight globally. This opportunity will not only thrill local fans but also consolidate the reputation of North America as a prominent destination for world-class sports events.