What could the US, Mexico & Canada joint soccer World Cup bid mean for betting markets?
Winning the bid for any big sporting event is a big deal for any country though, arguably, the sport of soccer proves not only to be a magnet but the opportunity to showcase the ability of a country in a similar way to the Olympic Games.
While the US last hosted the World Cup in 1994, next time around (2026) they will share this responsibility with neighbors Canada and Mexico, although a new format with more teams means more screen time.
The US is considered to be the ‘main’ host nation of the three and due to infrastructure capabilities and will stage the most games, most certainly the final, of one of the most prestigious sporting tournaments in the world. As such, the cities of Atlanta, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, New York/New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia and Miami will in some part, have an involvement in the tournament, as it stands.
In Canada, Vancouver and Toronto have been nominated, while in Mexico, matches will be hosted in Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara.
Following the announcement, US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone gushed, “It’s a historic day for U.S. Soccer and the entire American soccer community, from every corner of our grassroots all the way to the pros and our National Teams.
“Together with our good friends in Canada and Mexico, we couldn’t be more excited to work with FIFA to host what we think will be the greatest World Cup in history. I want to congratulate all the bid cities that will host games. I know you will all do a fantastic job of sharing your world-class stadiums, unique communities and culture, and amazing fans when the world comes to North America in four years.”
Similar views were echoed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino who stated: “We congratulate the 16 FIFA World Cup Host Cities on their outstanding commitment and passion.
“Today is a historic day — for everyone in those cities and states, for FIFA, for Canada, the USA and Mexico who will put on the greatest show on Earth. We look forward to working together with them to deliver what will be an unprecedented FIFA World Cup and a game-changer as we strive to make football truly global.”
Over the last couple of years the US has emerged as one of the markets with the most potential when it comes to sports betting after multiple states passed bills to allow it. As a result, it has seen interest in this activity catapult substantially, exceeding all expectations when it comes to revenue figures, providing a key indicator that this will only continue over the next few years.
It is certainly the case from the opinion of many sportsbooks which have made serious investments in this market over the past 12 months and as such, have already witnessed a considerable return.
Hosting the next edition of the soccer World Cup, even as a co-host can help to propel sports betting to the next level, while even perhaps driving the sport into one of the biggest in the country.
Mass sponsorship opportunities
In preparation, it is likely that sportsbooks are already looking into how they can substantially capitalize on the World Cup being hosted in the US, while quite a few have even entered both the Canadian and Mexican betting markets as well.
A key possibility for every sportsbook would be to become the main betting partner of the 2026 World Cup, which would represent a serious coup, especially in terms of cementing its status as the leading sports operator in the country. However, there will likely be many other opportunities for the tournament, such as venues.
With mass media coverage expected, this could prove to be particularly fruitful for those sportsbooks that already have official partnerships with media outlets, providing valuable channels to advertise promotions and offers to either existing or potential new customers.
As the most popular sport in the world and also the sport that attracts the most betting interest, the aim, no doubt, will be for US-based sportsbooks to generate considerable revenue from the US market.
It could be that European-based sportsbooks that have licenses to operate in the US could have the upper hand here when it comes to knowing how to attract customers to bet on soccer, knowing the type of soccer promotions that work after a couple of decades more experience.
The amount of coverage that there is likely to be in the country even months before the tournament will be a good way for sportsbooks to really ramp up interest - monthly, even weekly shows in collaboration with an partnered operator where chances of each team and possible odds are discussed could prove to be an effective way to generate interest slowly.
Most creative promotions to win?
When it comes to major sporting events, these are often big opportunities for sportsbooks to innovate and usually in the form of promotions and offers - some of them being too attractive to turn down.
Because there is such a buzz about the soccer World Cup, it generates a lot of betting interest in certain markets such as score predictions, top goalscorers, which teams will qualify - the possibilities are endless. Because of this, sportsbooks are likely to get as creative as they can in order to draw in new customers or even retain existing customers.
It could even lead to soccer becoming a big betting market in the country when the World Cup is over - no doubt MLS (Major League Soccer) has a goal to increase interest in the sport across the country and the World Cup could provide the perfect platform. And by extension, the increased betting interest that may come from this would likely benefit US-based sportsbooks.
While there are still four years to go until the tournament, tentative plans will already be starting to be developed and put into place by sportsbooks as they look to reap the rewards of what may be the most exciting edition of the tournament in years.