FRISCO, Texas - They say things are bigger in Texas and members of the Dallas 2026 Host Committee hope they delivered in a big way after giving a Host City presentation to FIFA Thursday morning in hopes of becoming a host city when the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ comes to the U.S., Mexico and Canada in six years.
Dallas 2026 Committee Chairman and FC Dallas President Dan Hunt, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Chad Estis and the Executive Director of the Dallas Sports Commission Monica Paul gathered in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco Thursday morning to deliver Dallas’ formal pitch to members of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland. Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones also addressed FIFA remotely.
“Today was our opportunity to present (to FIFA) and we had representation from the city of Dallas, from the Cowboys and AT&T Stadium, and FC Dallas,” Committee Chairman Hunt said after their presentation. “It was a great process and I think it went really well.
“We walked them through why Dallas is such a great city and why our region and metroplex can host such successful events. Obviously, one of the big ones is that we have a first-class stadium at AT&T Stadium. It can host – and has hosted – many of the great world events already.”
Dallas served as a host city for the 1994 World Cup when the Cotton Bowl housed six games including a legendary quarterfinal matchup between eventual champions Brazil and the Netherlands—a match which finished 3-2 and drew 63,500 spectators. This time around, it’s AT&T Stadium in Arlington competing for the honor.
“When I was thinking about building AT&T Stadium, I knew we wanted a great place for 100,000 people to have a unique experience. We’re ready to do what we can to make this World Cup the most special of them all,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones. “I was a close, personal friend of Lamar Hunt. I’m aware of his vision for soccer in the U.S. and I’m proud to be a partner with his family on this bid to host the World Cup.”
In the past, Dallas-Fort Worth has played host to other major sporting events including Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the NBA All-Star Game, College Football Playoff National Championship and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The metroplex is among the 17 U.S. cities vying to host World Cup games in 2026.
“AT&T (Stadium) has hosted 16 major soccer games at the venue and we’ve been fortunate to host a couple here at FC Dallas (at Toyota Stadium),” Hunt added. “Back in 2014, we hosted five of the teams that competed in the 2014 World Cup before they left to compete at the World Cup in Brazil.
“This is a really rich soccer market, we already have the infrastructure, we already have the stadiums built for this. And there’s going to be a couple of initiatives that you’re going to see throughout the city over the next five or six years that are going to make DFW even better.”
Not to be glossed over is the economic impact that World Cup cities see when hosting what is the world’s most-watched sporting event. Depending on a few factors, the Dallas Sports Commission estimates the impact could reach nearly half a billion dollars.
“Our initial calculations were done about two years ago and estimated at about $400 million in economic impact and 3,000 jobs,” said the Commission’s Monica Paul. “That’s a bit of a sliding scale and a lot of that is dependent upon the number of matches that we are able to get. There’s a lot of different elements that – as we get a little a clearer picture from FIFA – we’ll be able to tighten up that number and provide some good analysis. But right now, we’re definitely anticipating over $400 million in economic impact.”
The 2026 edition of the World Cup will be the largest of its kind with 48 nations set to compete across the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The U.S. will host 60 matches while Mexico and Canada will host 10 apiece. All quarterfinal, semifinal and final games will take place within the U.S. Clearly, the Committee also has its eyes on the ultimate soccer prize.
“We have a great opportunity and we’d love to host the final here,” Hunt concluded. “What an incredible honor that would be for the city of Dallas and I definitely would say we put our best foot forward on the path to bringing the World Cup to Dallas for 2026.”
FIFA will likely conduct site visits in the various host city candidates later this year and – according to Hunt – hopefully make their final decisions in mid-to-late 2021.