I haven't had time to cast about over this until now, but it's been bugging the crap out of me since I heard about it over the weekend. I'm not sure if our federation is simply being polite, but color me astonished that US Soccer is publicly entertaining the concept of a joint World Cup 2026 bid with Mexico.
Don't get me wrong. My complete and utter disdain for this idea is not an insult pointed at Mexico. They are surely capable of hosting the tournament on their own, they have the infrastructure, yada yada yada. So what's my problem? I'll tell ya all five of them in countdown fashion.
#5 - This is the least powerful (and perhaps most childish) excuse for my sneering attitude toward this idea, but... who really wants to grant Mexico a World Cup seed/more favorable draw? I don't. Hell to the no.
#4 - Plainly stated, I want to be selfish. It's certainly not necessary for us to share the responsibility for hosting, and I don't want to. My attitude would be the same if the idea was to team up with Canada.
#3- After the outright debacle of the 2022 tournament being awarded to Qatar, it seems highly possible that no nation on Earth has ever held a World Cup hosting chip as massive as the one currently weighing down US Soccer's pocket. Why anyone involved would want to dilute this advantage for what I would consider to be the risk of a joint bid is painfully beyond me. Pardon me, but I'd call that downright stupid.
#2 - The first World Cup held in the States stands among the most profitable to a host nation, if not at the top. The final was held in Los Angeles, and that alone pumped over $600 million into the local economy (and folks, that was in 1994 dollars). Throughout the tournament, hotels and restaurants in host cities enjoyed revenue bumps approaching 15%. The reason Brazil 2014 and South Africa 2010 didn't pay off for the little guys in those countries is that they required such heavy stadium and infrastructure construction. The United States has no need to melt away economic impact in that extremely costly manner. Now, you may have heard the the US economy, while recovering, could still use quite a boost. This is not the time to throw away a large share of the profits on offer.
#1 - I know this will come off as a wild notion, but how's about we consider the fans first? The US is already huge and expensive enough to bruise the wallets of tourney followers from all nations. In 2002, Germany supporters had to travel 715 miles from their semifinal site in Seoul, South Korea to the final in Yokohama, Japan. That distance, roughly the same one that separates Chicago and New York, was the longest traveled between consecutive games for any team. The distance between Mexico City (which is near-ish to a majority of the Mexican cities that would be in line to host) and New York? Over 2,000 miles. As if it already wouldn't be pricey enough in America alone, a joint bid covering these two countries would effectively kill the chances of the average Joe and Joana to follow their teams - while profit-leeching FIFA bags double the host pay-outs. My friends, this dude cannot abide.
So yeah... count me in the "This is a wildly terrible idea" camp. Resoundingly.
- Greg Seltzer