World Cup 

Dan Hunt: “We're hoping to make Dallas-Fort Worth the epicenter of soccer in the world in 2026"

10.24 World Cup DL

ARLINGTON, Texas – Members of the FIFA World Cup 2026 delegation are in North Texas this week to visit AT&T Stadium, one of the tournament’s 16 chosen venues. The visit is one of FIFA’s final host city walkthroughs before making major announcements about which host cities will have which games in the summer of 2026.

Dallas and AT&T Stadium are still vying to host the World Cup final, when the eyes of the world will tune into one game for 90 minutes. The city is also hoping to be the home of the World Cup’s Broadcast Center as well as the Referee Headquarters. Toyota Soccer Center, home of FC Dallas in Frisco, as well as other facilities around the metroplex, are in the running to be training centers for visiting national teams. Those facilities will be evaluated by FIFA during this week’s visit.

“We're hoping to make Dallas-Fort Worth the absolute epicenter of soccer in the world in 2026,” said Dan Hunt, Chairman of Dallas’ World Cup bid and President of FC Dallas at a press conference Tuesday morning.

“I'm just anxious to get the word from FIFA of the match schedule, to see if we're in fact hosting the World Cup Final in 2026,” said Monica Paul, Executive Director for the Dallas Sports Commission. “But honestly, I’m just humbled and honored to be a host city of any matches, regardless of the number of matches or the level of matches in 2026.”

Hunt, whose late father Lamar was instrumental in bringing the 1994 World Cup to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, gave an overview of an ambitious idea to include the surrounding areas of AT&T Stadium in the game-day experience. With Globe Life Field and Choctaw Stadium (current and former homes of the Texas Rangers) within walking distance of AT&T Stadium, Dallas has a unique opportunity utilize two major league stadia for its fan fest activations.

“You could cordon off this whole area and do a ticketed event of 200,000+ people, something that has never ever been seen at a World Cup, especially a World Cup final before,” Hunt explained. “This would be something that I think would set the record. FIFA wants to continue to innovate. And by doing this, we're doing something that I'm not sure we'll ever be done again.”


Earning the right to host the World Cup final, the most-viewed sporting event there is, goes beyond the game-day experience, of course. The FIFA delegation looks at every aspect of the host city’s offerings to determine its viability for its marquee matches.

“We're looking at various things, we have a big team with us who have done multiple events,” said Heimo Schirgi, Chief Operating Officer of the FIFA World Cup. “Obviously, one focus is the pitches. We're looking at the pitch conversion, how to make this a natural grass surface that will actually survive the duration of the tournament, which is not easy. We're looking at all the media areas, we're looking at all the concessions, hospitality opportunities. Basically, the whole operational details of the stadium. Safety and security is a big concern always, and something that we're looking at in great detail. But also, we're here to learn. We're here to learn from the operations. We're not coming here with a preset mindset…We're looking at how best to adapt what we're doing to the reality here.”

“It takes the entire community coming together to for us to be successful,” Paul said. “We obviously have great facilities but it's also going to be about accommodations, transportation, safety and security, police, fire, and medical services—not only from city of Arlington, but the city of Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, others throughout the metroplex. How can we be ready, because that'll be the first experience that many visitors have when they come to the DFW area, and we want it to be a positive one.”