AT&T Stadium Could Take International Stage With 2026 FIFA World Cup

Written By Rylee Bailey on April 28, 2022
Dallas AT&T Stadium 2026 World Cup host site

AT&T Stadium has a rich history of hosting some of the most prominent sporting and entertainment events, such as the:

  • Super Bowl
  • College Football Playoff National Championship
  • NCAA Final Four
  • NBA All-Star Game
  • WrestleMania
  • UFC prizefights
  • Concerts from Taylor Swift, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones and George Strait

So a World Cup Final would unquestionably be the greatest in the stadium’s history. Dallas Sports Commission executive director Monica Paul said:

“We want Dallas to be on the international stage for sports and we are committed more than ever to being a World Cup Host City in 2026. Our central location in the U.S., our two major airports in DFW International and Dallas Love Field, along with our great facilities in AT&T Stadium, Fair Park and Cotton Bowl Stadium, and Toyota Stadium make Dallas an ideal location to host.”

While various Texas pro sports teams and owners, including Mark Cuban, have all voiced their support of sports betting, it is not yet legal in Texas.

However, the winds are shifting and there’s hope we could see legal Texas sports betting in 2023.

2026 World Cup: A multi-national sporting event

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will feature 48 teams from all over the world. Matches will take place in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The North American 2026 bid beat a rival bid from Morocco during a final vote at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow.

This will be the first World Cup since 2002 that will be hosted by more than one nation and the first by more than two.

Dallas aims to host six matches, the World Cup Final or a semifinal match. And hopes to serve as the home of the World Cup Broadcast Center.

“We have shown over time that we host major events well and showcase sports unlike anywhere in the country,” Paul said.

“We want events here to be the biggest, set apart from when they’re hosted in other cities or other countries. Our communities really pride ourselves in thinking outside of the box and focusing on unique experiences, not only for the athletes, coaches and staff but also the fans. We want to make this a historic World Cup in 2026.”

AT&T Stadium more than fits the bill

AT&T Stadium’s bid book capacity stated the facility can hold 92,967 fans for the tournament — the largest of any city vying for 2026 World Cup matches. There is also room to increase that number, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. On top of the potential financial boon from the World Cup, Jones has been pushing for sports betting in Texas.

“We have the ability to take (our bid book capacity) up another 15,000 or so for the World Cup,” Jones said. “Our stadium, without a doubt, can handle more fans than anybody that is bidding for the World Cup, which creates great revenue for the sport, and also creates a fabulous show.”

AT&T Stadium has many advantages compared to its rival bidding hosts. Performing field modifications for the facility is second nature. FIFA requires all matches to be played on real grass.

AT&T Stadium was designed to meet requirements of this nature whereas some of its competitors might find it difficult to perform such modifications. The stadium’s retractable roof is another advantage. Because, the ability to control the climate will allow for “perfect weather” Jones says.

Jones also believes that choosing AT&T Stadium as a 2026 World Cup site will also allow for a better viewing experience for those at the stadium and also those viewing from home. He said:

“Our stadium itself attracts viewers. The stadium was built for the people in the stands, but it was made state of the art and the size it is for the 30 million people that watch the Dallas Cowboys play on television. The stadium creates an atmosphere that projects, and to me, the World Cup should take advantage of that.”

Dallas’ soccer legacy

Dallas is also looking to build upon its rich football culture as a 2026 World Cup host city. The city became the home of the Dallas Burn in 1995. In 2004, the team was renamed FC Dallas.

Dallas also serves as the Mexican National Team’s home away from home. Since 2019, the Mexican National Team has trained in Dallas and has played international matches at AT&T Stadium during the Mexican National Team U.S. Tour.

Dallas also hosted the 1994 World Cup at the Cotton Bowl.

North Texas is also a hotspot for the common soccer player and fan.

Today, North Texas has nearly 176,000 registered soccer players. And, it is home to the second-largest youth soccer community in the United States.

US Youth Soccer, the largest youth sports organization in the country, also calls the DFW region home. The National Soccer Hall of Fame is also housed in the DFW metroplex city of Frisco.

Photo by Ron Jenkins / Associated Press
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Rylee Bailey

Rylee Bailey is an award-winning freelance journalist from Texas. She is wrapping up her senior year at Southern Methodist University and has been writing since she was in high school. Previously, Rylee covered North Texas High School football for the Dallas Morning News and has bylines in Casino Player and the Kaufman Herald.

View all posts by Rylee Bailey