The 2026 FIFA World Cup will literally be the biggest tournament in history.
Some 48 nations will strive for the Jules Rimet Trophy, a 50 percent increase from the 32 who've played in years past. More teams means more games: 80, in total, to crown a winner, up from the current count of 64.
A bigger tournament calls for a bigger, more accomodating host space. That seems to be the thinking behind a massive joint bid the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which on Tuesday announced a 44-city, 49-stadium proposal to bring that year's tournament to North America.
And Minneapolis is one of those 49! That's awesome! Not as awesome is the news that this very long list of cities is going to get pared down, first to "20-25 venues" for the "final bid" (due to the notoriously un-corruptable FIFA in January 2018)... and then cut nearly in half again, to the "at least 12 locations" the three countries would actually get to host games.
Should Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium be one of them? If you say "Yes," just write an impassioned letter, put it in an envelope ... along with $5,000 USD in small unmarked bills, and slide it under the door of some Mexican diplomat's hotel room. That's usually how this works.
As noted in a release from "Sports Minneapolis," an offshoot of the tourist booster group Meet Minneapolis, by the time this bid's decided, U.S. Bank Stadium will have already hosted two X Games (this year and next), a Super Bowl (2018), and an NCAA Final Four (2019).
The "United Bid Committee" behind the North American effort will narrow its list of cities down in late September before submitting its formal bid in January. The 2026 Cup can only be held in North America, South America, Africa, or Oceania (Australia, basically), and so far only Morocco has announced plans to submit a competing bid.
Under FIFA's terms, stadiums must have a minimum capacity of 40,000 to hold a game, which U.S. Bank Stadium (63,000 seats) meets easily; we'd be out of the running for hosting the opening game or the World Cup Final, which require capacity of 80,000.
One city -- well, "city" -- which would be in the running for those matches: Green Bay, Wisconsin, where Lambeau Field holds 81,000-plus. Imagine hundreds of thousands of people from two competing countries -- French and Nigerians, say, or Brazilians Mexicans -- pouring into the land of beer and cheese for a long weekend. Glorious to consider, isn't it?
Click here to check out the cities and stadiums which think they deserve a chance to host a World Cup game or two. If, by chance, there is still a world in 2026.