MetLife Stadium just outside of New York City and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, are the two competitors for hosting the 2026 World Cup Final. Both are already in the confirmed list of venues for the expanded tournament. However, organizers are yet to select a location for the Final. As of now, reports indicate AT&T Stadium is the frontrunner.
However, MetLife Stadium presents the smartest option to host what will be the biggest soccer game in the history of the United States. Not only is it in a more sensible location for tourists, but it is the iconic city of the United States. MetLife Stadium has experience hosting elite soccer games, even if both stadiums did not exist back in their current form in 1994 during the last World Cup in the United States.
Both stadiums would be more than able. Infrastructure exists in both the Dallas Fort Worth area and New York City. Yet, the draw of New York makes it more appealing to the worldwide masses. Dallas may be more accessible for Americans as a whole as a central location, but New York is a better host for the world.
MetLife Stadium vs. AT&T Stadium for World Cup 2026 Final
When it comes to the stadiums themselves, there is one key difference. AT&T Stadium is indoors, while MetLife is open-air. MetLife has a marginally bigger capacity of 82,500 seats to Jerry’s World with 82,000. However, AT&T Stadium can expand to over 100,000 if necessary. Chances are FIFA would want as many people in seats as possible. Also, neither is in their true metro area. AT&T Stadium is 20 miles from downtown Dallas, while MetLife Stadium is 12 miles from lower Manhattan. Given traffic and travel times, the distance is fairly comparable.
One major concern for New York City is the heat. At first glance, Dallas would be hotter, but the indoor nature of the stadium cools it off significantly. At MetLife Stadium, heat can be a major concern. The 2023 US Open had the world’s best tennis players regularly complain about the heat. The open-air Arthur Ashe Stadium beat players down. However, MetLife Stadium can take advantage of one simple change.
The 2022 World Cup moved games to the evening to accommodate the hot daytime temperatures. Moving the games to the night would avoid the heat. However, the main concern with this is that it is difficult for fans in Europe to watch games that start late in the United States. Hosting that game in Dallas exacerbates the issue, as it is one time zone west of New York.
The relative area of New York vs. Dallas
Dallas may be more affordable, that much is inarguable. Hotels and transportation in New York will price matchgoing fans out of attendance. Yet, that might be worth it in the grand scheme of things. New York has all the traditional city activities. Shows, skyscrapers, sightseeing, and snacking at some of the most famous restaurants in the world are all possibilities in New York.
The Dallas area has plenty of things to do, too. However, New York City has everything Dallas does while the game is not happening. Yet, international fans are certainly more aware of New York City. Plus, New York City is the country’s most-visited city.
Dallas-Fort Worth Airport may have more direct flight destinations. However, John F. Kennedy International Airport has more direct flights to Europe than DFW. Additionally, JFK has more direct flights to South America and Asia. Therefore, fans may find it easier to travel to New York City for the Final and the related celebrations.
Again, both are suitable venues to host a game of this magnitude. Whichever city secures the World Cup Final should expect droves of fans from across the globe.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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