Feb 5, 2024 - Sports

How AT&T Stadium is preparing for the 2026 World Cup

A stadium in the background, with railings in the foreground

AT&T Stadium was built for a World Cup. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

North Texas leaders have a little over two years to prepare for the 2026 Men's World Cup.

Why it matters: FIFA says each match is expected to represent a Super Bowl, bringing millions of dollars and thousands of temporary jobs to their host cities.

The big picture: Hosting nine matches will be a big undertaking for North Texas, from installing a FIFA-approved soccer field to ensuring a memorable fan experience.

But, but, but: AT&T Stadium was built for the World Cup, says Mark Williams, the global director for venues at Dallas-based HKS Architects, which designed the stadium and is helping it prepare for FIFA.

  • "HKS and the Jones family had planned for this day to happen over a decade ago," Williams tells Axios. "We wanted to create a venue for North Texas that could host events like this."

The intrigue: AT&T Stadium has the largest capacity of all the 2026 World Cup host sites. It has experience hosting major events, including international soccer matches.

  • And it's in the process of a renovation scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Details: FIFA has strict site guidelines for tournaments, including for pitch design, team spaces and media setup. The seating requirements also vary between each round of the World Cup.

  • FIFA officials will visit Arlington to check on the stadium's process and make sure it's being set up correctly.

Reality check: Organizers will have to work around Arlington's lack of mass public transit.

The bottom line: "Is there a lot of work? Yes," Williams says.

  • "Is North Texas ready to make this an incredible experience for the world to come to and watch? Yes — and it's going to be fantastic."

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