The Dallas area was selected Thursday as one of the 17 North American cities to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
DFW joins the following cities across North America to host the largest sporting event in the world.
Area leaders hosted a watch party at the AT&T Discovery District in Dallas for the big announcement, with appearances from Dallas and Fort Worth city officials, as well as representatives from the Dallas Cowboys and FC Dallas.
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"When we built that stadium, we basically built it with the mind to have great great events and it wasn't just American football," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during a press conference after the announcement.
“What motivates the Cowboys is the magnitude of soccer and the audience of soccer. There’s a lot of value for us to do this in a spectacular way, that they’ll write a book about," Jones added.
It is expected that a number of World Cup matches will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington while other related events will be held in other locations around the Metroplex.
There could be more matches in North Texas and it's not yet decided what round the matches will be in.
FC Dallas President and Host City Bid chairman Dan Hunt said the goal in getting into the bidding was to have North Texas host the finals.
"One of the biggest nuances of our bid is with AT&T Stadium. We have Choctaw [Stadium] and Globe Life Field next to it. Which there's really no situation in the entire world that has three major stadiums right next to each other," he said. "I think we can do something that is so incredibly creative. We have Texas Live! out there and the new hotels being built. That's part of our pitch to FIFA, that we can literally throw the biggest party in the world for the World Cup."
It's estimated that FIFA World Cup 2026 games in DFW would create as many as 3,000 new jobs and have an economic impact of nearly $400 million.
North Texas has hosted the World Cup before. But Hunt said the interest in soccer is different now.
"You'll have a market in a country that is, even so, more receptive to the World Cup and soccer than it was back in 1994,” Hunt said. “So, I'm thrilled for what this is going to do for the game."
Hunt said the ripple effect though could be even more significant.
"You're talking about something that could be in the billions of dollars for our community,” Hunt said. “This is great for the citizens. Also, this could be a tremendous commercial for our community for people around the world."
Additionally, Fair Park could also be turned into an international media and broadcast venue. Click here to learn more about Dallas' pitch to host the games, put together by the Dallas Sports Commission.
WORLD CUP EXCITEMENT GROWS IN NORTH TEXAS
Now that it’s official, preparations already starting, and excitement is setting in.
For some fans, like Gilbert Aguilar, it was a chance to reminisce. He shared the moment with his grandson who will experience a North Texas World Cup for the first time.
“We’ve been waiting for a long, long time,” he said. “We were here in 1994 with his dad, and now I’ve got my grandson. And we’re looking forward to 2026.”
Those who love the game understand what this decision means for the community.
“My favorite thing about soccer is how it brings the world together. And I think the world cup is the ultimate showing of that,” said soccer fan Bailey Brown.
In parks all around DFW, you can see kids practicing and playing soccer.
"My daughter Alex is out here working getting some extra touches in over the summer for soccer," soccer mom Denise Barley said.
As fans of soccer she, her daughter, and her daughter’s coach are all excited to hear about Dallas being named a host city for FIFA World Cup 2026 games.
“There's so many girls and boys that play soccer here,” Barley said. “Getting to experience that right here like I said in our backyard is going to be fantastic for them."
2026 WORLD CUP
"That would be pretty cool to go watch," youth soccer player Alex Barley said.
"This is a great spot to do that because soccer is so big here,” soccer coach Alex Molano said. “It's only growing and that's only going to grow it more than it already is here so that would be awesome. Even for myself it's a dream to see a World Cup, I've never seen a World Cup. So, it would make my dreams come true to see that."