It’s official. The 2026 FIFA World Cup will expand from 32 to 48 countries after the FIFA Council voted unanimously in favor.
The expansion is also leading to a new format of 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams from each group qualifying to the knockout rounds. The total number of matches will increase from 64 to 80, but all matches will still be played within the same month-long timeline as current the World Cup format.
Even without a host nation currently selected, FIFA predicts that the expanded tournament will lead to an additional $1 billion in television, sponsorship, and ticketing revenue just in its first year. The 2018 World Cup in Russia is projected to have $5.5 billion revenue.
The host nation(s) for the 2026 World Cup will be voted upon in 2020. The United States, either in a standalone bid or co-hosting with Mexico and Canada, are favorites to host.