US, Canada, Mexico invites cities to bid for 2026 World Cup

Germany's players celebrate after winning the final football match between Germany and Argentina for the FIFA World Cup at The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

The United Bid Committee will reach out to 44 North American cities, including Chicago, to gauge if the city is interested in playing host to a World Cup game.

The list includes 37 stadiums in 34 USA cities. A total of 49 stadiums around those 44 cities will be considered for inclusion in the bid that will be sent to Federation Internationale de Football Association by March 16, 2018.

Minnesota United, the state's Major League Soccer team in its inaugural season, is building a soccer-specific, natural-grass stadium in the St. Paul Midway neighborhood, to open in 2019.

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The United States, Mexico and Canada's joint bid is competing with Morocco to host the 2026 event, which will include a 48-team field for the first time.

A short list of cities will be determined by late September, and final bids will be submitted by January of 2018.

Seattle, just three hours south of Vancouver, has its 72,000-seat CenturyLink Field, which is the home of the NFL Seattle Seahawks.

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On the list were nine Canadian facilities, including Regina's Mosaic Stadium.

"Vancouver is a world-class host city that has successfully hosted many worldwide sporting events including the 2010 Winter Olympics, the HSBC Rugby World Sevens Series and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup", said Mayor Gregor Robertson. Even if a city isn't chosen to host a match, there could be other opportunities for it to be involved in the World Cup. The request essentially asks cities to declare if they want to be part of the hosting bid. Built in 1961, the outdated facility is nearing the end of its lifespan and, with D.C. United moving into a new stadium next year, the city has begun exploring redevelopment options for the 190-acre campus. AT&T Stadium has a 105,000 seating capacity, while the Cotton Bowl holds 92,100.

The tournament would include at least 12 host cities, though the exact number remains undetermined.

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The FIFA World Cup attracted an average of 53,592 people to each of its matches in Brazil in 2014, according to the organization's official web site.

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