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The Dallas area will host FIFA World Cup games at AT&T Stadium in 2026

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The 2026 World Cup returns to North Texas.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex was named one of 16 host sites for the quadrennial tournament, with games scheduled in four summers at the 80,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

But now the area still has to play the waiting game: We won’t know how many games, or what marquee tilts will be here (such as the semifinals or the final) until a later date. The United States joins Canada and Mexico in hosting the tournament. The United States hosted the international event in 1994 and six games were played at the Cotton Bowl. Mexico hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. The United States hosted the women’s tournament in 1999 and 2003.

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“We would love to have the US for at least one game. That’s a great prize,” said FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt, who was also chairman of the Dallas 2026 host city bid. “We would love to have Mexico here as well. That fan base is so strong and so passionate. I don’t know if we would get both.”

Houston’s NRG Stadium was also selected to host matches, as were nine other US metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Boston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey/New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey will host matches in Mexico. Canada’s two host cities are Vancouver and Toronto.

“With the World Cup in 2026, we are entering the most exciting time in the history of football in this country,” Hunt said. “We want to bring a Women’s World Cup to the United States and to Dallas in 2027 or 2031.”

The 1994 World Cup provided an economic boom for the country and the region, and also helped fuel more widespread interest in professional soccer in the United States. MLS launched two years later and the Dallas Burn was one of the founding clubs.

Now known as FC Dallas and headquartered at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, the MLS team and the surrounding area will also benefit from World Cup games in the region. The games will not be played at the Frisco or the Cotton Bowl, but this time both are integral parts of the region’s bid.

“I’m not sure America was really ready for soccer in 1994,” Hunt said. “It was such a new and novel thing. But this is becoming a mature country for football, a mature market for football. I think this is an amazing time to bring the World Cup to the United States.”

How big has soccer become in the United States? On Tuesday, Apple and Major League Soccer announced a 10-year partnership on a streaming service that will allow fans to watch every game without blackouts or local restrictions. The service will be available exclusively through the Apple TV app starting next year.

“I think we will see soccer grow in a way that has never been experienced before,” Hunt said. “This TV deal will take MLS to the rest of the world: 108 countries will move MLS soccer forward. You will see continued expansion of Major League Soccer, and you will see continued expansion in the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League).”

Hunt, who has attended every World Cup since 1986 and was a ball boy at a 1994 World Cup game, said changes will have to be made at AT&T Stadium.

“There will be major renovations taking place to bring the field in,” he said. “I don’t think they have to do anything that substantial with the stadium itself, but we’re going to have to lift the field off the ground so it’s high enough so you can have a long enough and wide enough field. enough to meet the standards required by FIFA.”

So what big event is left to host that North Texas hasn’t previously landed on?

“There’s only one other major sporting event that we haven’t hosted yet that we would have a chance to host: the Olympics,” said Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission. “That would be many, many years down the road.”

For Dallas, landing World Cup games could be like hosting ‘six Super Bowls’

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