How to Buy Tickets to the 2026 World Cup

World Cup Tickets
Snapshot of our Russia 2018 Tickets

Do We Know the 2026 Schedule Yet?

Yes! The schedule was announced via livestream on February 04, 2024.

You can see an amazing timelapse of the schedule by host city and dates on a map we put together. Depending on your preference, you can see the timelapse via TikTok or Instagram. Honestly, this timelapse has been quite helpful for us as we try to determine what our future plans may be.

There’s a lot of excitement and after breaking the schedule down into different perspectives, we summarized the schedule in different views as well as added 9 Thoughts / Insights we gathered.

Think of this insight as what cities have the best schedule for creating a home base for the tournament during the group stages, knockout rounds, etc. Mexico’s entire group stage is at a considerable altitude, how does that play into their favor and moer.

You can also view the schedule on FIFA’s site.

When Do World Cup 2026 Tickets Go On Sale?

Latest Update: April 26, 2024 – check back as we will continuously update this article and the site!

Short Answer:

Using the logic and timing from previous and recent World Cups that occur in June/July:

  • Best guess is to see the first Phase (see below about Phases) to be between August to October 2025. (yes, 2025)

Long Answer:

Using the logic from other men’s World Cups, the initial “Phase 1” ticket sale will not begin until Fall 2025.

This “Phase” takes place before the World Cup Draw, and the Draw has traditionally been held in December the year before the tournament.

You may be wondering “how do you buy tickets to the World Cup before you know the teams?”

First, you need to know what is meant by “Phase 1” and that is explained below a bit as well as in our generic article about World Cup tickets.

But, back to answering the question…the schedule itself will be known by the time the initial tickets go on sale. The schedule will detail the date, time, stadium and group assignment that will play. We already know the dates and cities of matches from the schedule reveal in Feb 2024, but we haven’t seen groups and matches assigned yet.

This means that the day the tickets go for sale for the first time ever, you will be applying for a ticket without knowing which teams you will watch compete. This applies to group stages and all knockout rounds too – including the final.

For example you may be applying to watch F1 vs F3 in Los Angeles at 3pm on July 1 (note, the specifics here are made up to illustrate the point). Once the draw takes place, you’ll find out which teams are assigned F1 and F3 and who you now have tickets to see.

What Are the Basics of Purchasing World Cup Tickets?

Honestly, we wrote a generic article about buying World Cup tickets that answers most of the FAQs since 2026 is not on sale yet but we’ll address some below.

You can also read the page dedicated to Qatar 2022 tickets to get a sense on how that edition operated.

That said there are a few basics to familiarize yourself with:

FIFA Account

All tickets are officially purchased on FIFA’s website and you need an account.

You can go ahead and subscribe for updates from FIFA on their website. You can also create your FIFA ID account on FIFA’s website now. There’s always a chance FIFA adopts a new system that requires another account for 2026 tickets but you can make your own determination if you want to subscribe for updates and/or create a FIFA ID now.

Sales Phases

There are 2 Types of “Phases” and they’re known as “First Come, First Serve” and “Random Lottery“.

Random Lottery:

Typically, it kicks off a couple months before the draw as explained above and is Random Lottery. The time window of this phase is open where regardless of when you apply, you have the same chance to getting randomly allocated the tickets you requested. Fans will apply for any match or set of matches over X number of days. Once the time window expires, FIFA will go through a process to allocate those tickets to fans. You have to purchase every ticket that you are allocated or you lose out.

It is possible another Random Lottery phase will occur before the tournament begins as well.

First Come, First Serve:

This phase is what fans are most familiar with in purchasing tickets. You navigate to the FIFA Ticketing Portal, find the match you want to purchase tickets to, and if there’s availability, you pay via credit card at that time and the tickets are yours.

This typically occurs right after the World Cup Draw, a few months before the tournament starts and then again as the tournament is on-going.

Understanding Guest Ticket vs Main Applicant

The person applying for tickets is known as the “Main Applicant“.

Let’s say the “Main Applicant” purchases 2 tickets to the same match. The person that the “Main Applicant” invites is known as the “Guest“.

This is key because FIFA makes it difficult to resell match tickets on 3rd party platforms and “Guests” have essentially zero power outside of receiving and using the tickets.

To combat scalping, FIFA launches their own “Resale Platform” in which anyone can list their tickets for Resale but it is NOT a free pricing model. Tickets can only be resold for 10% markup. With FIFA using mobile, digital tickets (more below) they’ve found a way to facilitate the sharing of tickets. A guest cannot transfer a ticket and a main applicant cannot transfer any other tickets aside from the guest ticket.

It’s honestly a fairly well-executed attempt to minimize (let’s be real, it does not come close to eliminating) the open market scalping that is common in USA sporting landscape.

Using our 2 ticket example, this means I can assign the guest ticket to my sister, but there’s not an easy way I can transfer my main applicant ticket to her spouse.

3rd Party Reseller Sites

As stated above, fans may be surprised that listing tickets for resale on a 3rd Party Platform (e.g. StubHub, Ticketmaster, Viagogo, etc) violates the “Terms of Use” by FIFA.

If you want to learn more, read this article on how FIFA’s Resale Platform works and why.

Be Prepared for Mobile Tickets

Unless technology takes a wild U-Turn soon, the tickets will be accessed on a FIFA mobile app. Take a look at the 2023 and 2022 mobile app articles for an idea on how it works.

The app is fairly advanced where tickets use bluetooth to “activate” a unique scannable barcode once the ticket holder is within the stadium grounds on match day.

Screenshots of the barcode will not work for sharing.

Types of Tickets

Individual Tickets – tickets purchased for a specific match.

Team Specific Tickets – tickets purchased to follow a specific team. You can typically do this for 4 or 7 (8 now?) matches.

Stadium Specific Tickets – tickets purchase to attend every match in a specific stadium.

Hospitality Tickets – sold by the FIFA Hospitality arm, (the last few years has been MATCH), these tickets are always first come, first serve and have multi-levels in their own right. Typically, the cheapest ticket is about 10x a regular ticket cost and you get a version of food, drinks, parking, etc + a small gift (see photo below of our gift in USA vs England, Qatar 2022).

World Cup hospitality gift
Hospitality Gift from Qatar 2022

Travel Packages

We detail a bit more regarding a couple legit vendors that provide World Cup Travel Packages.

In fact, the premier luxury travel provider (i.e. if you have a large budget), Roadtrips has already launched their 2026 World Cup offerings. You can select a package for the World Cup Final, Semifinals, Follow a Team, Visit a City or create a custom package.

Seriously – send a message if you’d like to learn more regarding this avenue and we can put you directly in touch (where you can also get a $250 food and drink credit).

Sample from Roadtrips on their 2026 Packages (again, send us a message for an introduction):

2026 World Cup Travel Package example provided by Roadtrips

How Much Do World Cup 2026 Tickets Cost?

There’s nothing specific out yet, but we do know that these will be broken into “Categories” based on the position of the field, not necessarily proximity to the field. A World Cup ticket option exists in 3 different Categories and then increases in price for each round of the tournament.

  • Category 1 – the most expensive category and reserved for the center of the pitch.
  • Category 2 – the 2nd most expensive category and reserved for the corners of the pitch.
  • Category 3 – the least expensive category and reserved for behind the goal.
  • Category 4 – a very small subset of seats behind the goal that are reserved for host residents, but not sure how this will work in 2026.

It is entirely possible that Category 3 can be front row behind the goal and Category 1 is the last row ad midfield.

Again, our regular column provides a handful of examples on ticket prices. You can also see our travel budget from Russia 2018. The pricing will hopefully surprise many people as FIFA does a decent job of keeping the tickets away from scalpers and costs less than what many fans pay in the States for meaningless friendlies between European teams.

The cheapest ticket in previous tournaments hovered around $70 USD or less in the past for the men. The image of this article reflects tickets in Russia 2018 – Category 3 – at $105 USD. Qatar 2022 was closer to the $70 USD range for CAT3 in the Group Stages.

And it’s wild to reflect on how we purchased tickets to the Women’s England vs Spain 2023 Final in Sydney for equivalent to $25 USD each! The affordability of the 2023 Women’s Tournament is likely an era gone forever due to the astronomical and long overdue growth in that tournament.

United 2026 Bid Proposal Details (Again, This is from the BID PROPOSAL)

You can access the official 2026 Bid Proposal on FIFA’s website and when you do so, navigate to page 490 and you will see the proposed pricing scheme. And…well…this would be quite the price increase.

That said – it is important to know this is only a Bid Proposal and constructed in 2018 so this could (and likely will) change. Many aspects of the proposal already has changed; however, it is interesting to see where the minds are at (💰).

Also, keep in mind that CAT4 is typically reserved for the residents of the host country – and at very limited supply. There’s no further information, other than the below matrix which again – came directly from the official bid proposal in 2018 that is on FIFA’s website.

Will there be a CAT4? What are the conditions for it? We will wait and see..

Proposed pricing of World Cup 2026 ticket prices
Page 490 in

How Are World Cup Tickets Different Than Super Bowl Tickets?

A common from the American contingency as there are intense concerns about costs and availability.

Honestly – there’s an entire article that compares Copa 2024 to World Cups so read that article for way more details and illustrations but a very basic summary is below.

There are 4 key differences that are worth mentioning:

Ticket Sales Happen in Phases

And everyone has equal opportunity in all phases. That is, there isn’t a presale code or early access to those that will scalp the tickets (see more below) but instead, a random lottery occurs and then first in line.

Pricing is Split Into 3 to 4 Categories

We illustrate this above a bit with our chart. What may not resonate is those in the last row of the stadium are paying the same price as those in the first row and you can see that as glass half empty of half full.

We prefer half full.

Pricing Transparency

FIFA’s website is the official platform to purchase tickets and again as illustrated above, the face value of tickets is available from Day 1 and isn’t dependent on second hand markets.

FIFA Controls Resale Market

Our favorite part about the ticketing, consistent since 2006 has been availability of resale tickets on FIFA’s platform – and at face value. Can’t attend a match? Get your money back by relisting it on FIFA and once it sells, you get a refund. FIFA also instills some guardrails through technology that significantly increases the friction for resale on second-hand markets; additionally, it technically violates terms of use, and there have been cases where people were turned away for violating these terms.

Can FIFA really stop it? No, but FIFA can minimize it. So you will still see people selling second-hand tickets for thousands of dollars above face value, but you can also find resale availability on the FIFA platform.

If people have thousands of dollars to spend on tickets, read up on hospitality tickets and luxury travel packages which may be your preferred method of attending a World Cup.

Some Parting Words

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