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Texas Fans Look Ahead to 2026 World Cup

Sports

Fans fill a sold out AT&T stadium as Ecuador plays Mexico on May 31, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. | Image by Tony Gutierrez/AP

The upcoming World Cup Final match between Argentina and France already has fans excited about the next tournament.

The 2026 World Cup will take place in North America, with matches across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

“Just to have it here, I mean, the world’s talent’s gonna be here,” said Joshua Hall, a Dallas resident who attended the World Cup in 1994 at the Cotton Bowl when he was just 3. He said he hopes to continue the tradition the next time around. “I hope the U.S. can play here so I can go see them in my backyard.”

For many, this year’s tournament has been a preview of the next rendition of the world’s largest sporting event planned for 2026. Arlington has been chosen as one of the 16 host cities for the next World Cup. Members of the Dallas Sports Commission were in Qatar to learn more about what it takes to put on a World Cup.

“When we come back, we will really start to plan for 2026 and how we can make this special for Dallas,” said Monic Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission.

The Dallas Sports Commission said it hopes to host 5-7 games and the World Cup Final, although FIFA has not announced which cities will host which games in 2026.

“FIFA has not made a determination on the final or semifinal, so that is something we are very interested to get into those discussions with FIFA and hopefully take that to the next step so we can get some really key matchups here in Dallas for 2026,” said Paul.

Dallas is already prepping to make its bid for the championship game, with AT&T Stadium in Arlington set to undergo $295 million in upgrades ahead of the tournament, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Arlington Mayor Jim Ross is also working with the Dallas Sports Commission to plan for the tournament. The city will open the 800-room Loews Arlington Hotel, which will be located between AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Field, Ross said.

“The World Cup gives us an opportunity to show what we’re about,” he said. “To show that, regardless of the diversity, regardless of the different countries that these teams are playing from, you can come here to Arlington, Texas, and have the best World Cup ever.”

FC Dallas president Dan Hunt said he expects the 2026 World Cup’s overall impact on North Texas to be in the billions of dollars.

Paul said the region could see an economic impact of $400 million per game and even more for the final match.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime, definitely a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Paul said. “Even if you’re not a soccer fan, it’s very hard not to be immersed in everything that the World Cup is.”

The economic impact on the current World Cup host country, Qatar, is estimated to be $17 billion in profit.

France and Argentina are set to play in the World Cup finale on Sunday at 9 a.m. CST.

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