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Implications of World Cup 2026 Expansion

We’re all looking forward to the 2026 world cup. The tournament will be co-hosted in North America by the USA, Canada, and Mexico. The latest announcement from the FIFA council meeting shows an increase in the number of teams playing in the 2026 world cup. What are the repercussions of this decision, and how does it affect various aspects of the next world cup? Let’s take a look and find out.

Games Played

With more teams playing, it’s automatic the number of games played will increase. FIFA 2026 will feature 104 games. This will be a staggering increase from the 64 games played in the Qatar world cup. Initially, FIFA had proposed 80 games which were divided between the hosting nations in the following proportions:

The United States – 60 games

Mexico – 10 games

Canada – 10 games

This new revelation just changed the numbers and might tilt the scale in favor of Mexico and Canada. The change in games played will give fans a different world cup experience in the upcoming tournament.

globe logo for world cup 2026 articleGroup Stages

For a while now, we’ve been used to the normal eight groups made of 32 teams. The 2026 world cup features 12 groups of 4 teams each. This tallies up to 48 teams which is something new, and we can’t wait to see how things work out. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage as it traditionally was. The teams with a 3rd place finish will be ranked overall according to performance. The top 8 teams in this ranking will advance to the knockouts. This stage will now have 32 qualified teams.

Revenue Generated

The increased number of games automatically increases the revenue generated. It is estimated that the 2026 FIFA tournament will generate over $5 billion in economic growth for North America. Ticket sales alone are projected to hit $3 billion. The sale of merchandise and advertising in the packed stadiums will also bring a staggering amount. Furthermore, the tournament will positively impact the hospitality industry as hotels are expected to be fully booked within months to the World Cup. 

Increase in Sports Betting

With the 2026 FIFA World Cup drawing nearer by the day, many fans are expected to throw their full support on their favorite teams through wagering on online platforms. To get the best value for money, you should use sports betting platforms recommended by Maple Casino. This guide from Maple Casino points you toward the best sports betting sites with different types of online sports bets, such as straight, over/under, point spread, futures and in-play betting. Additionally, you will get to know about the various betting odds and how they work. Some of these popular betting odds include American Odds, European Odds, and Fractional Odds.

Regional Qualifying Teams

A record 48 teams will be taking part in the 2026 world cup. From the 6 continental zones, the number of teams participating per confederation is divided as follows:

Europe – 16

Africa – 9

Asia – 8

North America, Central America, and the Caribbean – 6

South America – 6

Oceania – 1

This tallies up to a total of 46 teams. There will be a mini-tournament to determine the additional two teams. Six teams will take part, and only two will proceed.

Match Rigging and Fairness 

In recent years we have had claims of match rigging. With only two teams qualifying per group, there have been allegations of teams throwing away games that had no significant impact on their tournament progress. Having 8 additional teams in the knockouts curbs this alleged allegation. Teams playing in the third position will give their best to rank higher overall. A third-place group finish will now have value and be coveted more.

In Summation

The FIFA world cup has always been a prestigious tournament. The new expansion comes with implications for the teams and fans attending. The expansion aims at increasing fairness and making the tournament more interesting. We anticipate that with the increased number of games and teams, the tournament won’t disappoint.

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