Hosting 2026 World Cup could bring $620M economic impact to DFW
The 2026 FIFA World Cup, along with about $5 billion in short-term economic activity, is coming to Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The three-nation North American bid won against Morocco the hosting rights for the international soccer tournament with a strong majority — 134 out of 200 casted votes — during the FIFA Congress held in Moscow on Wednesday.
One of the main selling points for FIFA to host the World Cup in North America was the quality of stadiums, which received an overall score of 4.1 out of 5 in the last bid evaluation report released by FIFA’s Bid Evaluation Task Force. For the first time, the 2026 tournament will feature 48 teams and 80 matches, which, compared to the current 32 teams, 64 matches format, would require enhanced resources in terms of stadiums, accommodation and transportation facilities. Show Full Story
United 2026, the committee that managed the North American bid, has proposed 10 games to take place in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the U.S., according to the evaluation report.
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the proposed host cities, and Arlington's AT&T Stadium could potentially host the tournament’s final match. Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium is a proposed training site and base camp venue.
Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission, is working closely with city officials and the site selection organization to make Dallas one of the host cities.
"We want to be up there, we want that final, we want that semi-final," Paul said. "I think it's a great event. Representing, having your city on an international stage is pretty special and a great opportunity."
The city of Dallas estimates the local economy would benefit over $415 million if chosen to be the host city. But those are conservative estimates as of right now, Paul said, because many other variables are to be considered before making a solid assessment.
“The potential to bring one or even several matches for the World Cup to our region is an incredible opportunity for every single person here," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in an emailed statement. The Cowboys play home games at AT&T Stadium.
"The economic impact to our businesses from hotels, restaurants and bars, transportation services and shops is astronomical, but even more important it gives North Texas an international stage to truly show the world what we have to offer," Jones added. To the millions of visitors to the billions of fans watching from the entire globe,
the World Cup gives us a platform to display our greatness – our roads, hotels, infrastructure, accessibility, state-of-the-art facilities and the highest quality of experiencing sports and entertainment. All of us Texans know, we do it bigger and better than anybody else, we would be so fortunate to get to share a little bit of our secrets with the world.”
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A statement released by U.S. Soccer in February said the 2026 tournament will be the “largest in FIFA World Cup history” and each individual host city could expect up to $620 million in incremental economic activity.
"Our central location and the stadiums that we have available and training facilities are second to none," Paul said about Dallas-Fort Worth. "We have a culture that breathes soccer."
The Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas hosted six matches, including a quarter final match, during the 1994 World Cup. That tournament's International Broadcast Center was in Fair Park, which operated as the base for 10,000 worldwide television broadcast representatives for six months.
The 2026 tournament will generate 40,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in incremental worker earnings, according to United Bid Committee. The ticket revenue is estimated to be around $2.1 billion.
“The great thing about the World Cup is that it’s a global event,” Paul said. “There will be people from all over the world with diverse culture. And we are a city full of diversity.”
"We know we still have a lot of work ahead for us to do to be named the host city," Paul said. "It's always a great thing when you're able to represent your city in one of the largest, if not the largest, single sporting event in the world."