Feb 4, 2024 - Sports

Dallas is the main host city for 2026 FIFA World Cup

A football stadium in front of sunny skies

FIFA is coming to Jerry World in 2026. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Dallas area will host the most matches of any city during the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup, holding nine games over the 39-day tournament, organizers announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The 2026 World Cup organized by FIFA — the international governing body of soccer is poised to be AT&T Stadium's largest event since Super Bowl XLV in 2011.

  • Each match is expected to represent one Super Bowl and bring millions of dollars and thousands of temporary jobs to the region, FIFA says.

The big picture: Canada, Mexico and the United States are co-hosting the 104-match tournament across 16 cities.

  • "This whole calendar has been designed to make sure that the fans can travel with the teams in a way that's not too burdensome," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said during the announcement.

Details: Arlington's AT&T Stadium will host five group stage matches, two in the round of 32, one in the round of 16 and a semifinal.

Of note: The opening World Cup match will be in Mexico City on June 11, 2026, and the first U.S. match will be at SoFi Stadium in the Los Angeles area.

  • The final will be on July 19 at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium.

Between the lines: Local leaders had hoped that AT&T Stadium would be chosen for the final.

  • Many news stories leading up to Sunday's announcement had incorrectly speculated that the stadium would host it.

What they're saying: Dallas sports legends Dirk Nowitzki and Emmitt Smith joined North Texas leaders at a news conference at AT&T Stadium following FIFA's announcement.

  • "It's a beautiful thing all the way around, even though the disappointment may be there," Smith said of the final. "The nine that we actually have is a beautiful thing that we can build off of."
  • He said the matches will help make soccer more accessible to the region's families.
  • "I'm excited to show what Dallas and this region is capable of and how nice it is here. People that have never been here will see what a great town this is," Nowitzki said.

The intrigue: Comedian and soccer dad Kevin Hart co-hosted FIFA's announcement livestream Sunday.

  • "Dallas. Amazing city," Hart said. "Amazing city and amazing people."

Flashback: The Cotton Bowl hosted six matches in the 1994 World Cup, but soccer was significantly less popular in the U.S. then than today.

What's next: Pre-registration is open for 2026 World Cup tickets.

Meanwhile: This isn't the only international sports tournament coming to the Dallas area.

  • Grand Prairie will host four matches, including the opener, for international cricket's T20 Men's World Cup this summer.
  • That tournament is also anticipated to bring millions of dollars in revenue to North Texas.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Dallas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Dallas stories

No stories could be found

Dallaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Dallas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more