In just three and a half years, Fort Worth will welcome millions of soccer fans for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the largest sporting event in the world. And the city wants to go bigger by becoming a base camp for a visiting national team.
With the possibility of hosting eight games with the final, the tournament could bring in millions of dollars to the local economy and businesses of North Texas.
The metroplex is one of 16 host cities across three countries for the upcoming World Cup tournament, with AT&T Stadium in Arlington slated to be one of the primary venues. AT&T Stadium is currently in the running to host the final game.
The tournament will be held from June 11, 2026, through July 19, 2026. In total, 104 matches will be placed across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
FIFA, the international organization overseeing the event, lists Dallas on its official website as a host city, but all of North Texas, including Fort Worth, play a crucial role in making the event a success and stand to benefit as well, said Gina Miller, vice president of media and communications at FC Dallas.
“We recognize it as 100% a regional effort capitalizing on these great cities that make Dallas-Fort Worth the best region in the country,” Miller said.
The recent expansion of the tournament from 32 teams to 48 means there is a need for more cities to act as base camps for a visiting national team for the duration of the event – an opportunity Fort Worth has quickly jumped on. City officials and FC Dallas are putting together a plan to present to FIFA and hope they are selected.
“Obviously if Fort Worth gets an opportunity to be a base camp host, that’s real dollars and cents into the community,” Miller said.
To host a visiting national team’s base camp, a city needs to have several fields and four- or five-star accommodations. The proximity to several major airports — Dallas-Fort Worth International and Dallas Love Field as well as smaller and private airports like Alliance and Meacham Airports — make Fort Worth an attractive location for a base camp.
“Since everything is indeed bigger in Texas, Fort Worth would feel right at home,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker in a statement.
Even if Fort Worth is not selected as a base camp, the influx of international tourists will not go unnoticed.
The average visit for a World Cup match is four days. In comparison, the average Super Bowl tourist spends two to two and a half days in the host city, Miller said. Those longer stays translate into dollars from accommodation, transportation and food.
“That’s because it is more of a once-in-a-generational opportunity, and they can go into a market, experience a number of games versus one game. So that economic impact from a tourism standpoint certainly does seem to be a little bit greater because fans are in-market a little bit longer,” Miller said.
Besides accommodating thousands of visitors, the Dallas-Fort Worth region also aims to be the International Broadcasting Center and Referee Headquarters location for the duration of the World Cup.
Early projections estimate if North Texas is selected as the hub for media, 10,000 or so media organizations will be in the marketplace from January 2026 through the end of the tournament, Miller said. That’s also about 150,000 hotel rooms across the region before, during and after the tournament.
Fort Worth is also one of two cities in the region that could host a Fan Festival, a live watch party of the games in the host country. Potential locations in Fort Worth include Sundance Square or the Convention Center, said Jason Sands, vice president of sports and executive director of the Sports Commission with Visit Fort Worth. The second Fan Festival location will be at Fair Park in Dallas.
Hosting a Fan Festival is projected to bring 100,000 people a day for 35 days straight, Sands said.
“We’ve got transportation that drops off a block from downtown Fort Worth and gets you to Fair Park as well,” Sands said. “It was a selling point for us to be able to leverage the whole region to FIFA so that international fans can come here and have a great experience in Fort Worth and Dallas and Arlington and Frisco and beyond.”
The U.S. Soccer Federation, the nonprofit organization and official governing body of the sport in the United States, estimated that hosting the 2026 World Cup could generate more than $5 billion in short-term economic activity across North America, according to a 2018 news release.
That includes supporting 40,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in incremental worker earnings.
The U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup, which is considered one of the most well-attended tournaments. Reports at the time estimated that the event generated $4 billion in economic impact across the country. Today, that’s worth about $8 billion.
Dallas was one of the host cities back in 1994, with games played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park. Miller said that alone generated over $300 million for Dallas and surrounding communities.
To maximize the impact of the World Cup at the local level, FIFA will be allowing for the first time each host city to put together local organizing committees. Each organizing committee will be responsible for preparing, staging and executing the 2026 FIFA World Cup in conjunction with FIFA.
The local organizing committee will also have the ability to sell sponsorships and will include representatives from various sections of the metroplex. Dallas-Fort Worth’s organizing committee is currently being assembled.
“There are so many talented individuals throughout each of the 16 host cities who have done billion-dollar sports sponsorship packages. For FIFA to understand that and to let each host city maximize their expertise within each individual marketplace and maximize their relationships really will be a benefit to each host city and each local organizing committee,” Miller said.
Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ssadek19.
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