World Cup

North Texas Secures World Cup Three Decades After it Last Played Host

TV and radio commercials urged Texans to put out the welcome mat

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It’s been nearly 30 years since the last time North Texas played host to World Cup games. To remember what it was like, NBC DFW took a look back through the archives.

In the summer of 1994, Dallas prepared to welcome the world, spending $18 million to host the World Cup. That included renovating the Cotton Bowl and converting other Fair Park sites into a $2.5 million broadcast facility.

TV and radio commercials urged Texans to put out the welcome mat, while city leaders made a point of helping the city shine by hand-washing taxis that would pick up tourists landing at DFW.

There were some bumps along the way, like when the city booked just half of the 300,000 hotel rooms promised by the Cup, disappointing businesses like Dallas’ Grand Hotel, now the Statler.

“We’ve lost about 70% of what we were originally planning on,” said an employee in an interview at the time.

Once the games began, triple-digit heat sent some fans home early. Others left in ambulances.

“The heat is pretty bad. Plus, it’s pretty crowded, so that makes it a little worse,” said a spectator.

Still, hosting those six matches put Dallas on the world’s stage, brought in $20 million in revenue and spurred local interest in the game, all of which North Texas hopes to capitalize on again three decades later.

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