Jan 18, 2024 - Sports

Report: World Cup final will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington

A giant stadium in front of a bright blue sky

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The 2026 World Cup final will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, according to a report by The Sun, a British tabloid.

Why it matters: The FIFA men's World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world. An estimated 1.5 billion people watched the final match of the 2022 World Cup, which featured France and Argentina.

  • Hosting the final match would highlight the region to a global audience like no entertainment event has before.

Plus: The Sun report also says that North Texas will be the central base for FIFA, the sport's governing body, during the tournament.

Yes, but: Neither FIFA nor local officials who campaigned to bring the final to the area have confirmed the reports.

The big picture: 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, Dallas 2026 host city bid chairman Dan Hunt told Axios in 2022.

  • Hunt also noted at the time that North Texas has a "realistic chance" of hosting the final match.

Zoom out: The 2026 World Cup will expand the participating field from 32 teams to 48 for the first time, meaning a total of 104 games to be played across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

  • The opening match will reportedly be played at Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City, where Diego Maradona scored his "Hand of God" goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.
  • Arlington is one of 16 cities to host games.

Flashback: After Dallas hosted several first-round games and a quarterfinal match at the Cotton Bowl in 1994, the sport saw such a local boost that the National Soccer Hall of Fame eventually found a home in Frisco.

Three soccer players dressed in blue celebrate a goal.
Three Brazilian players celebrate a goal during the 1994 FIFA World Cup match against Holland at the Cotton Bowl on July 9, 1994, in Dallas. Photo: Chris Cole/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Of note: AT&T Stadium, sometimes called "Jerry World" or "The Death Star," can hold nearly 100,000 people. It's hosted a Super Bowl, several big college football games, NCAA Final Four games, rodeos and several boxing matches.

  • Last year the stadium hosted three sold-out Taylor Swift shows.

The intrigue: With a population of 395,000, Arlington is the largest city in the country without public transportation.

What they're saying: "We are proud to have been named a World Cup host city, and we strongly believe Dallas is an ideal location for the World Cup final in 2026 and the International Broadcast Center," Dallas mayor Eric Johnson told WFAA when ESPN first reported in 2022 that AT&T would host the final.

  • "The Dallas region — the fourth-largest and fastest-growing in the United States — has the central location, economy, infrastructure, culture, and amenities necessary to support this major global event," Johnson said.
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