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Dallas will be a host city for the biggest World Cup in history! Here's what you need to know.

The 2026 World Cup will feature a record 48 teams instead of 32. The US, Mexico and Canada will share hosting duties. Here's how Dallas fits into those plans.

DALLAS — Saddle up, Dallas-Fort Worth! The grandest stage of the world's game is coming to Texas.

FIFA officials announced Thursday that AT&T Stadium in Arlington would be one of the U.S. sites for the 2026 World Cup. It was announced back in June of 2018 that the U.S., Canada and Mexico would host the 2026 World Cup together after the United Bid Committee formed in 2017, which was made up of the presidents of the three national soccer federations, MLS commissioner Don Garber, other leaders in soccer and chaired by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 

En español: Quedaron definidas las 16 ciudades anfitrionas de la Copa del Mundo 2026 de Estados Unidos, México y Canadá

Twenty-two cities throughout the three countries vied for a chance to be a host site, including 16 in the U.S. Sixty games are to be played in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on. Canada and Mexico are to host 10 games each. 

Here is a list of all the 2026 World Cup sites: 

United States

  • Dallas - AT&T Stadium
  • Seattle - Lumen Field 
  • San Francisco - Levi's Stadium
  • Los Angeles - SoFi Stadium 
  • Kansas City - Arrowhead Stadium
  • Atlanta - Mercedes-Benz Stadium 
  • Houston - NRG Stadium
  • Philadelphia - Lincoln Financial Field
  • Miami - Hard Rock Stadium
  • New York/New Jersey - MetLife Stadium
  • Boston - Gillette Stadium

Mexico

  • Guadalajara - Estadio Akron
  • Monterrey - Estadio BBVA
  • Mexico City - Estadio Azteca

Canada:  

  • Vancouver - BC Place
  • Toronto

Things to know for the 2026 World Cup

How many countries will compete in the World Cup? Will the U.S. compete in it?

Historically, there are 32 teams in the World Cup. The 2026 World Cup will mark the first time in history that the field is expanded to 48 teams. Usually, the group stage is broken into eight groups of four, but the 2026 World Cup will broken down into 16 groups of three, with the top two teams from each round-robin trio advancing to a single-elimination knockout tournament.

As for the United States national team's involvement, host nations historically are automatically qualified, but FIFA hasn't yet announced if the three North American teams will be auto-qualifiers. 

The CONCACAF gets six slots out of the 48, so if three auto-bids are given to the host nations, then obviously that eats up half of the region's spots. 

Here is a breakdown of how many spots go to each region:

  • AFC (Asia): 8
  • CAF (Africa): 9
  • Concacaf (North America and Caribbean): 6 (includes three host nations)
  • CONMEBOL (South America): 6
  • OFC (Oceania): 1
  • UEFA (Europe): 16
  • Playoff: 2*

When will the World Cup take place?

The World Cup historically takes place in the summer, usually in June or July. The 2022 World Cup strayed from this trend due Qatar's harsh climate in the summertime and moved it into November. 

The venues picked for the semifinal and final will not be announced until early 2023, after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar concludes, FC Dallas President Dan Hunt told WFAA. 

Is this the first time the U.S., Canada or Mexico have hosted a World Cup? 

No. The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994. This is the first time Canada will host the men's iteration of the World Cup, but hosted the Women's World Cup in 2015, which the U.S. squad won. Mexico has hosted the World Cup twice: in 1970 and 1986.

What is the economic impact of hosting the World Cup?

Monica Paul with the Dallas Sports Commission told WFAA they estimate that hosting could create 3,000 with a $400 million impact. Paul also told WFAA the bid could mean improvements at Fair Park if Dallas gets the International Broadcast Center it’s hoping for and better public transit to AT&T Stadium.

The Associated Press reported that the 1994 Cup drew a record 3.59 million fans and grossed $580 million, which produced a profit of $133.25 million for FIFA and $50 million for the U.S. organizing committee. FIFA said the 2018 World Cup in Russia produced $5.357 billion in revenue over the four-year cycle and a $3.533 billion surplus.

What went into Dallas' bid to be a World Cup site? 

Venues for matches, training facilities

AT&T Stadium will serve as Dallas' marquee venue for a World Cup bid, with a capacity of 92,300 for World Cup matches. AT&T Stadium has become a mainstay for Mexican national team matches in the past few years, as well as world-famous clubs Chelsea, Barcelona and Club America. 

But the facilities at hand for countries to utilize goes far beyond Jerry World. 

Credit: AP
Fans fill a sold out AT&T stadium as Ecuador plays Mexico in the first half of a friendly soccer match, Saturday, May 31, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Dallas Bid Committee highlighted numerous spots and venues in the area that would be good for training facilities, including the Cotton Bowl in Fair Park, Toyota Stadium in Frisco, MoneyGram Soccer Park in Dallas, Westcott Field at Southern Methodist University, Patriot Soccer Field at Dallas Baptist University, University of Texas at Dallas soccer complex and Rail Road Park in Lewisville. 

When the World Cup came to the US in 1994, the Cotton Bowl hosted six games, including a memorable quarterfinal match between the Netherlands and Brazil, remembered as arguably the entire tournament’s top match. It was also recently announced that the Cotton Bowl would host FC Barcelona and Juventus in a late-July match.

RELATED: Two world-renowned soccer clubs are set to play in North Texas this summer

Location, travel capabilities

The Dallas Bid Committee also put emphasis on DFW's centralized geographical location compared to other potential World Cup sites, as well as the areas two airports for travel ease. The committee said DFW-International and Love Field allows athletes, coaches, attendees and others to get in and out of Dallas easily, while being able to fly to most other sites. 

“They can hop on a plane at a major airport or a private airport and very quickly to get to any spot in the bid,” Hunt told the Sports Business Journal. “They can even be in Canada in three-and-a-half hours.”

Sports Business Journal reported that DFW sees nearly 200,000 passengers each day, utilizing 22 different airlines from 258 destinations.

“The World Cup surpasses even the Super Bowl, but we’re the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country, and we’ve got one of the busiest and largest airports in the world,” said John Ackerman, executive vice president, Global Strategy and Development, DFW Airport. “We’re well-versed in hosting large groups like this. We know how to handle the VIPs, and we know how to handle just the sheer volume of fans.”

Dallas' soccer history: A passion for the world's game

This part is multifaceted. You can start with the fact that one of soccer's founding fathers in America, Lamar Hunt, went to college at SMU and lived in Dallas. Hunt was one of the original investors in Major League Soccer (MLS), owning two teams: the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). In 2003, Hunt purchased a third team, the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas). Lamar Hunt died December 13, 2006, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas of complications related to prostate cancer. The U.S. Open Cup, which dates back to 1913, was renamed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 1999. 

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is in Frisco in the south end of FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium. Throughout the museum, there are hundreds of pieces of soccer memorabilia, including FIFA Women’s World Cup trophies, championship jerseys, and a Hall of Fame inductees wall. USMNT legend and East Texas native Clint Dempsey was inducted this year.

The soccer culture is deeply-rooted in North Texas, from the big leagues to the kiddos. Dallas is home to the second largest youth soccer organization in the country, according to the bid committee. The DFW area is home to many youth soccer tournaments and other events that typically draw hundreds of teams and thousands of young athletes and their families, most notably the Dallas Cup

The list of distinguished alumni of the Dallas Cup includes (but is not limited to): David Beckham, Clint Dempsey, Chicharito, Landon Donovan, Raul, Andrea Pirlo, Michael Bradley, Wayne Rooney, Alphonso Davies, Bukayo Saka, Weston McKennie, and Mason Greenwood. In fact, Dallas Cup alumni have gone on to play in over 500 World Cup matches, according to the event's website.

OK, now tell me more about this upcoming World Cup in 2022

To give you a quick rundown, the 2022 World Cup will begin on Nov. 21 and run through Dec. 18. The U.S., Mexico and Canada all qualified to compete in Qatar. 

The U.S. will play in a group with England, Wales and Iran. The USMNT has numerous Texas ties, which we have outlined for you here. The final roster will not be announced until much closer to the tournament, but these are the Texas folks who have played an integral part in qualifying and during the ramp up stages.

RELATED: World Cup 2022: Here are the Texas ties to the USMNT

Mexico's group features Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

Canada will face off against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.

Again, only the top two teams from each group's round-robin play will advance to the knockout stage, which becomes a single-elimination tournament. 

   

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