The United States, Canada and Mexico have formally announced their intentions to launch a first-of-its-kind three-country bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Along with Monday’s introductory press conference was a hype video, announcing the bid. And while we don’t want to read too much into it, there are some strong signals that the Pacific Northwest will play a significant role in the tournament if this is the winning bid (and even by the crooked standards of FIFA, it seems like a slam dunk).
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the soundtrack is provided by Macklemore, who you may have heard is a Seattle musician. But that’s easy enough to write off on its own.
Where it starts to get interesting is around the 00:10 mark, where we get a shot of downtown Vancouver. (Amazing what the housing boom has done to that place, isn’t it?)
Don’t worry, Seattle gets some screen time, too. This one comes at 00:49:
Just for good measure, we get one more shot of Vancouver’s Canada Place in the frame after the Seattle image.
Seattle and Vancouver were also mentioned by name when USSF President Sunil Gulati was asked about travel, saying that they would like create regionalized group stages. Vancouver and Seattle were lumped in with the likes of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Guadalajara, Mexico.
None of this guarantees anything, obviously, but both cities make a ton of sense in a bid like this, starting with the fact that their relative proximity and plentiful pro quality practice facilities makes for an easy home base for fans and teams.
Also consider that BC Place was the showpiece stadium for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, hosting nine games, including the final. It’s also Canada’s largest stadium regularly used for soccer (capacity: 54,200).
Similarly, CenturyLink Field is the largest U.S. stadium to call a MLS team a permanent tenant (not counting Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, which isn’t yet open).
The only significant knock against either stadium is that both have artificial turf surfaces. But even if FIFA mandates that all the stadiums be grass — a safe bet — CenturyLink Field has plenty of experience doing overlays, most recently during last summer’s Copa America Centenario. BC Place has never done anything similar, but its retractable roof should allow for it to be installed and maintained for a few weeks without too much issue.
Adding all of this together, it’s not hard to imagine four to six matches being played in the Pacific Northwest and it’s not remotely out of the question that a knockout round would be included as well.