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An Early Look at 2026 FIFA World Cup Logistics

The World Cup matches will be held in Arlington, but Dallas will be home to a great deal of team and fan experiences. We're getting an early look at what that will look like.
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While Dallas-Fort Worth did not get the 2026 FIFA World Cup final, it did get nine matches, more than any other host city. Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports

In early February, FIFA announced that North Texas would not host the 2026 World Cup final, but it did land nine games—the most matches of any North American city. On Tuesday, two Dallas City Council committees were briefed by city staff on what Dallas-proper can expect from the month-long event. Though the games will be played in Arlington, the region’s largest city is preparing to host tens of thousands of fans, if not more, for two weeks in June.

AT&T Stadium will host nine games over the 56-day tournament: Match 11 on June 14, Match 22 on June 17, Match 43 on June 22, Match 57 on June 25, and Match 70 on June 27. The stadium will also be home to two round-of-32 matches, one quarterfinal matchup, and one semifinal matchup.

The joint meeting of the Dallas City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Sports Recruitment and Retention and the Economic Development Committee on Tuesday reviewed the scope of the area’s World Cup involvement. 

Monica Paul, the executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission, told the Council that economic projections are still being massaged by FIFA and are due by summer. However, early estimates for four matches predicted a boon for the region of $415 million. With nine matches and additional activities, Paul suspects that number could more than double.

“What I can tell you is that in 1994, I still hear about Dallas hosting the World Cup at the Cotton Bowl—we hosted six matches,” Paul said. “So to go from six matches to nine is a huge increase from an economic standpoint.”

Paul outlined where events would happen. In addition to AT&T Stadium, teams will be able to choose from four base camp sites: Dallas Baptist University, Toyota Stadium in Frisco, University of Dallas, and TCU. They will train in either the Cotton Bowl Stadium or at SMU. A multi-week fan festival will be held at Fair Park, and additional fan gathering opportunities are in the works across Dallas-Fort Worth.

Should Dallas be picked to host the tournament’s International Broadcast Center, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be its headquarters, pending contract negotiations. If Dallas does get picked, Paul says that the center would bring an additional estimated 5,000 broadcasters to the city. 

Paul said that in 2006, Germany had 50,000 people a day attending their fan festivals. Qatar, which hosted the World Cup in 2022, had an average of 70,000 attendees at its festivals and a maximum attendance of 98,000. One of Russia’s largest days drew 160,000 to its fan festival.

“Even people that may not have tickets to the matches taking place here will go to the fan fest,” she said. Additional fan events could be held at places like Klyde Warren Park, Southern Gateway deck park, the Arlington Entertainment District, and potentially the Soccer Hall of Fame or the Star in Frisco.

This year, committees addressing everything from safety and security to sustainability, human rights, marketing, workforce, and more will begin their work.

“I’ve been to two World Cups,” Paul said. “There’s not another event as large with the cultural aspect with the international visitors and the flair, and I think it’s a really great opportunity for the city and for our region to really leave a lasting legacy.”

Visit Dallas CEO Craig Davis said that the economic impact “is going to be staggering in a good way.”

“I think that’s what we need to collectively look at as we move towards this, making sure that everybody that visits the city from here in the United States to abroad, they get the most incredible experience, and they go back and say, ‘Wow, Dallas is everything I hoped it would be,’” he said.

Paul said that the region will begin conducting test events next year that will help with planning, including how to transport visitors from one location to another. While there are concerns about the lack of public transportation in Arlington, she said that the Commission is working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to coordinate with the region’s transit agencies, including Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Trinity Metro. Early plans will likely see ticket holders, credentialed journalists, broadcasters, and volunteers riding transit for free, with bus service at the CentrePort/DFW Airport station to AT&T Stadium. Events will be planned close to hotels, rail, and airports.

Council members in attendance were excited, but also questioned how much the city would need to spend to prepare for the influx. 

“If we want to go a little granular and look at the impact that this is having here at home, this is providing countless jobs, this is providing countless opportunities that wouldn’t have existed,” said Council Member Adam Bazaldua, whose district will be hosting a training site and fan festival. “This is an economic impact of having nine super bowls within a summer. This isn’t crazy; this is really, really crazy.”

Council Member Jaynie Schultz agreed. “It’s a tremendous opportunity—for some of us of a certain age, it is literally once in a lifetime,” she said. 

Council members Chad West and Paul Ridley asked for an analysis on what the cost to Dallas taxpayers would be compared to the projected economic benefits.

“We never planned on nine matches in any of our assessments,” Ridley said. “So are we going through those numbers now that we have this match schedule?”

Paul said that the price tag for the city might not be as much as what the Council was worried about, thanks to sponsorship programs and state funds.

“We’re anticipating utilizing the major event reimbursement program through the state to cover the majority of the cost,” she said. “And the other costs, we’re looking through the host city supporter program to be able to go out and get the sponsorships needed to cover them.”

By December 2025, FIFA will announce the participating teams and matchups after World Cup qualifying concludes, and the host cities can begin firming up their event schedules. The World Cup matches will begin in June 2026. FIFA is already accepting volunteer applications for the event here.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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