Apr 4, 2022 - Sports

North Texas has "realistic chance" of hosting 2026 World Cup, FC Dallas president says

Toyota Stadium in Frisco
FC Dallas fills up Toyota Stadium for most home games. Photo: Omar Vega/Getty Images

While the financial cost-benefit analysis of hosting a World Cup is debatable, bringing the largest sporting event in the world to North Texas in 2026 could have impacts that go beyond economics, FC Dallas president Dan Hunt tells Axios.

Driving the news: FC Dallas hosted a large watch party for the 2022 World Cup draw last week, and Hunt was on hand to talk about the social implications the 2026 tournament could have on the region.

  • Hunt is the chair of the committee established to bring 2026 matches to North Texas.

Why it matters: After Dallas hosted several opening round matches — and one legendary quarterfinal match — during the 1994 World Cup, the local soccer scene got a boost that's still visible today.

Background: Hunt, then a teenager, was a ball boy when 1994 World Cup games were held at the Cotton Bowl.

What's happening: Hunt thinks there's a "realistic chance" North Texas could host the final match of the 2026 World Cup, but hopes the area will get at least a semi-final game. "AT&T Stadium is one the greatest economic drivers of any sports venue in the entire world," he tells Axios.

  • "The number of club seats and luxury suites, the economics are different than anything FIFA has ever seen before."

What they're saying: "Having matches here, what it will do to grow interest in the game, in both boys and girls soccer, this is massive," Hunt tells Axios.

  • "If we can host the 2026 World Cup in Dallas, it will set forth a legacy of another 10 or 20 years that will grow the game in an incredible, exponential way."

What's next: FIFA could make decisions on 2026 host venues by the end of this year.

What we're watching: The U.S. Men's National team plays England, Iran and either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine in Qatar in November.

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