After months of chatter, and even a Daily Mail story on Sunday morning reporting on the – past tense – announcement that AT&T Stadium would host the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final, Gianni Infantino uttered the words ‘New York/New Jersey’ instead.
The stadium, which will be dubbed Dallas Stadium for the tournament due to sponsorship restrictions, will join a pretty exclusive list in hosting nine games but as it was put to me, it’s like a child waking up on Christmas morning expecting a new bike, only to be met with socks. Here’s that list of most games in a single venue:
|Stade de France
|Al Bayt Stadium
Jerry World was a hive of activity as stadium tours were ushered past the area where media from all across North Texas were assembled. VIPs and staffers gathered in another club for a private viewing of the Fox broadcast announcing the schedule. As the moment came to name the host for our sport’s showpiece event, a hush seemingly gathered over three million square feet.
Then the hush turned to a stunned silence.
The saddest sight was seeing World Cup final graphics deleted from drafted press releases and news stories, such was the expectation that the trophy would be awarded in North Texas on July 19, 2026.
Dirk Nowitzki, Emmitt Smith, Marty Turco, and Paxton Pomykal were wheeled out in front of the media, surely expecting to talk about DFW’s credentials as the World Cup final host. It all felt a bit flat as the conversation shifted to soccer in the US and the global appeal of the sport to fill time.
Next up came the mayors of Arlington, Frisco, and Dallas, as well as a councilor representing Fort Worth. Mayor Jim Ross vehemently defended Arlington’s mass transit solutions against any perception as the weak point of the bid. His assertion that traffic management was ‘as good as any other city in the nation’ for Cowboys and Rangers games, and the 750,000 people Ross mentioned as attending the Texas Rangers’ World Series parade was at best wishful thinking. Granted, while public transport is wonderful in New York City, Arlington may well have East Rutherford, NJ beat in that category.
Finally, Jerry Jones took center stage, flanked by the driving forces behind the Dallas 2026 bid, Dan Hunt and Monica Paul. Shock was evident on Paul’s face, while Jones seemed disengaged compared to his usual appearances, aside from saying the ‘right thing’ about the professionalism and competency of the FIFA executives.
The Cowboys’ owner has long-held the goal of bringing the most-watched sporting event to his stadium and speaking about how cheaper it would have been to build Cowboys Stadium on a grander scale as a venue purely for NFL use may have exposed a little frustration in missing out on that goal.
Monica Paul admitted that the economic studies of the bid did not include a forecast for as many as nine games, but that the real work only starts now that a a schedule is confirmed. Dallas is still in the running for the FIFA Headquarters (Dallas Omni), International Broadcast Center (Fair Park), and Referees’ Headquarters (Toyota Soccer Center).
Dan Hunt also added that several national teams could choose to base out of DFW with four knockout round games in the area. The FC Dallas President talked up venues such as Toyota Soccer Center, MoneyGram Park, SMU, and UTD.
There was a general theme of speakers being bullish about DFW putting on nine World Cup final-sized spectacles.
“We will assure you that we will take each one of these games and will use every ounce of anything the Cowboys are about,” said Jerry Jones. “Anything the Dallas-Fort Worth area, North Texas is about. Everything Texas is about. What we had to sell was we believe that we represent – in the center of the country – what America is about in our way, and we believe we show the future. We tried to sell that and we wanted to commit it to them to buy into that, as opposed to going to one of the coasts, New York or Los Angeles. It was a hell of a battle. We almost got there but I don’t want in any way, from my perspective, to take away from how hard we’re going to work to make each one of these games notable beyond any other contests.”
With nine chances to attend, you can register to receive ticket information as it’s released on FIFA’s website. You can also sign up for information on volunteer opportunities at dallasfwc26.com/volunteer.