United Bid Committee: Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ could create more than $5 billion in economic activity for North America
Posted on 8 February 2018 in FIFA
Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ could generate more than $5 billion in short-term economic activity, including supporting approximately 40,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in incremental worker earnings across North America, according to a study done by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consulting firm. Canada, Mexico and the United States are bidding to host the 48-team tournament in 2026, which will be the largest in FIFA World Cup™ history. The overall net benefit to the region would be $3 – $4 billion.
The study further estimates that individual host cities could expect to see approximately $160 - $620 million in incremental economic activity. That translates to a net benefit of approximately $90 - $480 million per city after accounting for potential public costs.
“One of the strongest arguments in favor of the United Bid is the certainty that we provide to FIFA and its Member Associations” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Bid Director and General Secretary of Canada Soccer. As this study demonstrates, our hosting of the first ever 48-team FIFA World Cup™ will yield benefits to all three of our nations, and the global soccer community. United, AS ONE, our three nations’ collaboration for the continued growth of the world’s game demonstrates the strength of our united effort.”
“Together, the United 2026 bid represents the largest commercial market in the world, offering the opportunity for substantial economic and social benefit for our host cities and for FIFA, providing the stability needed to propel global football forward for years to come,” said Yon De Luisa, Mexico’s Bid Director. “Hosting a truly United Bid will give us an opportunity to make FIFA’s new vision come alive and will help harness the economic power of the North American market to promote, enhance and enrich the game we all love.”
“United 2026 offers existing modern stadia, with experienced management teams in each of our proposed host cities and existing modern accommodation and integrated transport systems throughout our host cities,” said John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid Committee. “Our legacy is already in the ground, working, not on the drawing board giving our host cities and FIFA a level of certainty not seen in previous FIFA World Cups™ and allowing us to focus hosting the best event for the prosperity of FIFA.”
“Our assessment found that if the United Bid Committee is successful in its bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, it could generate significant short-term economic activity and numerous other benefits across Canada, Mexico, and the United States,” said Cliff Grevler, Senior Partner at BCG.”
The variation in impact among the candidate host cities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States is the result of differences in the number of matches hosted, venue capacity, current levels of tourism, cost of living, city population, and geographic size. In its analysis, BCG built projections for seven distinct clusters of candidate cities, drawing on benchmarks, expert interviews, third-party research, and its own experience working with other sports organizations.
In conducting the study, BCG sought to isolate the effects of the FIFA World Cup™ from economic activity that would happen anyway, such as ongoing infrastructure improvements and regular international tourism. The assessment also incorporates the ripple effects of new direct spending in order to project total impact.
A unique feature of the United Bid is that the three countries are relying on pre-built infrastructure that significantly reduces the cost of hosting and is a key enabler of the projected net economic benefit for host countries.
The economic impact, earnings, and employment figures included in the study are assumed to occur in 2026. These numbers do not incorporate additional expenditures and impacts that would occur in the years leading up to the tournament, as the official host cities and local organizing committees prepare for the event. The analysis also presents its data across all three host nations based on today’s U.S. dollar, but an expected annual inflation rate could be applied to all figures.
Beyond the near-term economic impact, hosting the FIFA World Cup™ would bring significant, longer-term economic benefits, which BCG analyzed as part of the study. For example, host cities and countries would profit from global media exposure, boosting long-term tourism by raising the profile of host cities.
In addition, hosting would bring social benefits to the region, including a measureable “feel-good” effect on residents, 77% of whom already support hosting, according to an Ipsos survey in October 2017. Additional social benefits could include improved global perception of hosts and improved diplomatic relations within North America, noted BCG.
Canada, Mexico, and the United States will be making history if chosen to cohost the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, representing the first time that matches have been hosted in three different nations. The 2026 games will already be charting unprecedented territory, as FIFA has announced an expanded format for the event: the number of matches will increase from 64 to 80 and the number of qualifying teams will grow from 32 to 48. Morocco is the only other nation that has formally declared its intention to submit a bid.
About the United Bid Committee
The United Bid Committee was created by the National Federations of Canada, Mexico and the United States to manage the bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. The United Bid Committee is comprised of a Board of Directors that includes representatives of the three North American soccer federations.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.
About the 2026 FIFA World Cup™
The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first tournament with the expanded 48-team format and will require world-class facilities and infrastructure to ensure a successful tournament. The United Bid of Canada, Mexico and the United States is uniquely suited to accommodate FIFA’s high-level standards for hosting a FIFA World Cup™. If the United Bid is selected by FIFA as the host for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, at least 12 cities will be selected as venues for games. Canada, Mexico and the United States also have a long and successful history as hosts - 13 FIFA events, including 3 World Cups have been hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States, five of which set attendance records.