Despite being four years away, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be big news in Dallas on June 16.
FIFA organizers will formally announce the 10 US host cities for the 2026 month-long summer event on that day, selecting from a list of 16 finalists. Those 10 cities, along with three cities in Mexico and three in Canada, will host a total of 80 matches — the most ever for a World Cup.
The 15 US cities in contention with Dallas are Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C./Baltimore (joint bid).
“The host cities will be absolutely key to ensuring the successful delivery of the competition,” FIFA’s Chief Tournaments & Events Officer Colin Smith said. “We look forward to working with them to deliver what will undoubtedly be the largest FIFA World Cup in history.”
While some cities will be sweating it out on June 16, Dallas seems to be a sure bet to be selected as one of the tournament’s hosts. In fact, Dallas could end up hosting one of the later rounds, including a semifinal or finals match-up.
Texas Online Gambling Update: Beto Calls for Legalized Sports Betting
AT&T Stadium is the crown jewel
Any talk of Dallas hosting World Cup games begins with AT&T Stadium. While it is already 13 years old, the Dallas Cowboys’ home remains one of the best in the country.
The Dallas bid listed the stadium’s capacity at 92,967, by far the largest stadium amongst the 16 contending cities. With the ability to expand to 105,000, the ticket sale possibilities likely have FIFA organizers drooling.
Capacity isn’t the only appealing feature of AT&T Stadium. The retractable roof will be a welcomed sight for the teams and fans, especially in the June and July Texas heat.
Getting to and parking at the stadium may be the only negative to AT&T Stadium. However, with four years to develop a strong transportation plan, that likely won’t affect the Dallas bid.
Visiting Dallas Would Be Easy and Fun
Selecting a host city doesn’t come down to just stadiums and ticket sales. FIFA wants to ensure fans have ways to reach and stay in the city, as well as entertainment options.
Dallas’ two airports — Dallas Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field — have approximately 2,200 flights daily. That will give fans from across the globe options for air travel.
Once they arrive, fans have plenty of choices when it comes to hotels. According to a report by 42 Floors, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has an expected room inventory of 79,281. That is the fourth most any of the 16 cities can offer.
The city plans to turn several places into major World Cup fan zones. Fair Park, home to the State Fair of Texas will be the largest of those areas, with Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and Arlington’s Entertainment District also able to host events.
Again, the only negative for Dallas would is public transportation. That is an issue that will need to be addressed before 2026 but can be solved with good planning.
Will Dallas Be Selected?
With all the factors being considered, will Dallas be selected as one of the 10 host cities? Almost certainly.
Should Dallas not be selected, it would be an upset along the same lines of US Hockey over Russia, and Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson. Dallas just has too many factors on its side, making it one of the top three cities in contention.
Hosting the Trophy Presentation?
The bigger question is, will Dallas host the World Cup Final? It will have some tougher competition for that honor.
The host of the tournament final will likely come down to New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. The smart money would be on LA, as the allure of Southern California always has seemed to appeal to major sporting events. Add in brand new SoFi Stadium expanding capacity to 100,240 seats, and LA will probably be the choice.
If Dallas doesn’t get selected as the host of the Final, they will almost certainly get to host one of the two semifinal matchups. That means fans of the world’s elite teams can probably start scouting out potential hotels in north Texas.
AP Photo/Tim Sharp