LOS ANGELES — FIFA unveiled the logo and branding for the 2026 World Cup – including the slogan “WE ARE 26” – on Wednesday at Griffith Observatory during a flashy celebration for the tournament, which will be held across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The logo is simple in its design, with a white “2” stacked on top of a “6” and the World Cup trophy superimposed on them. The trophy’s image is a first for a World Cup logo, as is the use of the tournament hosting year as part of the logo itself.
Unlike the red, white and blue shield that adorned the iconic logo from 1994, there is nothing United States-specific to this design for a tournament being co-hosted by three nations. Each of the 16 host cities – 11 in the United States, including Los Angeles, two in Canada and three in Mexico – will have their own branding with unique colors and styles, FIFA announced. The city versions of the logo will be revealed on Thursday.
“WE ARE 26 is a rallying cry,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said. “It’s a moment when three countries and an entire continent collectively say: ‘We are united as one to welcome the world and deliver the biggest, best and most inclusive FIFA World Cup ever.’
“The tournament will enable each host country and participating team to write their own page in the history books of FIFA World Cups, and this unique brand is a major step on that road to 2026.”
Wednesday’s event amounted to an unofficial kickoff for the 2026 World Cup, the first with 48 teams.
Dozens of soccer luminaries, including Brazilian great Ronaldo, gathered for the unveiling. Others walking the green carpet at the gala event included World Cup winners Carli Lloyd, Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Youri Djorkaeff, MLS commissioner Don Garber and U.S. Soccer Federation CEO J.T. Batson. Former U.S. player Alexi Lalas and Telemundo host Ana Jurka served as the emcees for the event.
Infantino avoided answering whether the fact that Los Angeles was hosting the brand launch meant that it would also host the 2026 World Cup title match.
“Of course, Los Angeles is an important city, is one of the 16 (host) cities,” he said. “Obviously it is a hub. It is an entry hub in America. It is the city where the final of the last World Cup in United States was played as well. We don’t know yet where the final of this World Cup will be played. This is still up for grabs, so to say. So please send us your offers and make sure that we beef up the proposals, but Los Angeles will be one of the important cities of this World Cup, definitely.”
OPTIMISM ABOUT WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TV DEALS
Although the clock is rapidly dwindling, Infantino seems slightly more optimistic about reaching what he sees as an acceptable deal for the broadcast rights to the upcoming Women’s World Cup in five key European countries.
While Infantino walked the green carpet, he spoke briefly about the urgent negotiations with broadcasters in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and England for the rights to show the Women’s World Cup games taking place in two months in Australia and New Zealand.
“Some discussions have taken place, have started, I have to say, at a bit of a different level,” Infantino said. “So it is moving.”
Infantino has decried the offers made only a few weeks before, claiming they show disrespect to the women’s sport and FIFA’s ongoing attempts to level the financial playing field. FIFA has more than tripled the prize money awarded to the Women’s World Cup winners this year from the 2019 level, but Infantino said several months ago that some initial offers for the European TV rights were around 1% of the equivalent men’s broadcast rights.
Infantino said he is still determined to get more money from the largest European nations’ broadcasters because he claims it will benefit the entire women’s sport.
“It is important to understand here where we are coming from,” Infantino said. “We are investing in women’s football. We are here now in North America, in the United States, where it’s the home country of the world champions, where women’s football has a completely different level not only of acceptance but also of respect. … We just want that the game is respected and that the right money is paid for that. Because whatever is paid is going back, not only 100%, but 150%, in developing the women’s game.”
Infantino’s quest is supported by Jill Ellis, the coach of the U.S. team which won the past two Women’s World Cup championships.
While Ellis, who was in attendance Wednesday, said she understands why negotiations have been difficult, the numbers under debate are sometimes discouraging to see.
“Gone are the days where it’s, you know, ‘Please, please respect us, please invest in us now,’” Ellis said. “It’s like, why wouldn’t you invest in us? I think we’ve got to show value to ourselves as a global sport, so I understand that (the negotiations) have to be frustrating, given the ratings and viewership where they are. The financial thing is nowhere near that. … They’ll pay for the men’s games, right? I think we have an amazing sport. We had over a billion watch in ’19. The ratings are there. They’re in the stadiums now. It’s a little bit tough to swallow.”
FIFA vice president Victor Montagliani addressed the prospect of the U.S. and Mexico hosting the 2027 Women’s World Cup.
“It’s a process. Obviously, it’s exciting. Two countries that you know, have facilities and have the history of organizing,” he said. “Right now, it’s just the beginning. So there’s a whole process behind it, we are behind it, CONCACAF is behind it. And let’s see what happens.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Images provided by FIFA on Wednesday show the logo, left, and slogan for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada. (FIFA via AP)
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