Uniting, disuniting and reuniting: towards a ‘United’ 2026

Nicholas Wise, Jan Andre Lee Ludvigsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Co-hosting mega-events is not a new concept. It has been viewed as a strategic endeavour among nations to not only ease the cost of hosting, but to work on multi-national collaborations that go beyond underlying political and economic agreements. United 2026 is a successful FIFA World Cup bid led by the United States to co-host the event with Canada and Mexico. This commentary offers a cultural and political geographical discussion of this bid and the future mega-event. Some of the governance challenges include critically discussing the uniting of these three nations (based on the role of NAFTA and neoliberalism), contested points of disuniting (through the rise of right-wing political movements) through to an intended reuniting (through a shared mega-event hosting). This political and cultural journey of working towards a United 2026 event began in the early-1990s with the NAFTA agreement initially negotiated by George H.W. Bush and signed by Bill Clinton (as the economic binding of the USA, Canada and Mexico) through to Donald Trump’s threats of a US withdrawal and what would ultimately be renegotiated as the new USMCA Agreement. This context provides some geographical/geo-political underpinnings for understanding the potential and perceived governance of a United 2026, following the longitudinal political history of uniting, disuniting and reuniting. With the geopolitical climate in North America, a united effort is (somewhat) contradictory to the apartness that framed the recent relationship between the USA and Mexico in the past years. But alternatively, a co-hosting approach can be viewed as working towards a new North American togetherness, at least in the sense of an event spectacle and imaginary. From a political geography standpoint, power relations will likely exist in a matter similar to that of NAFTA, but as events are promotion oriented opposed to production focused, it is expected that a newfound cultural connection could emerge amid evolving political disruptions using sport as a cultural driver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSport in Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • USA
  • United 2026
  • co-hosting
  • mega-events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies

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