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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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New York-New Jersey Is the Clear Choice For the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final

  • NYC Mayor and New Jersey Governor make pitch to host championship match.
  • Region shared record in putting on large-scale soccer events at MetLife Stadium.
MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Our region is known for hustle and bustle. But even by our standards, this summer’s lineup of events at MetLife Stadium was frenzied.

From May 26-28, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour came to town. On July 29 and 30, Beyonce played before two audiences of over 100,000 attendees. Starting August 30, Bruce Springsteen thrilled three capacity home-state crowds. Over the course of the summer, more than 3 million spectators passed through MetLife Stadium’s gates.

And for the sports fans among us, one particular event stuck out: On July 22, Arsenal and Manchester United of the English Premier League faced off in a friendly match, drawing a capacity crowd of 82,500, setting a stadium record for a club soccer match.

The success of that sunny Saturday afternoon served as an early indicator of our region’s soccer fever ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2026. New York and New Jersey are gearing up to host at least eight matches in what is shaping up to be the biggest sporting event in history.

And we have our eyes on one match in particular: The Final.

Our soccer history runs as deep as any region in North America. In the 1870s, Scottish and Irish immigrants’ love of the sport earned Kearny, N.J., the nickname “Soccertown, USA.” On October 1, 1977, Pelé played his last-ever match in front of a packed Giants Stadium. In 1994, East Rutherford played host to World Cup matches, including a semifinal.

We pair this love of the game – passion you simply won’t see elsewhere in the United States – with a unique knack for pulling off the logistics of big events. 

MetLife Stadium’s capacity is the largest of any in the four major American professional sports. Our region has three major international airports, hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms, and a robust, interconnected network of public transportation. We have no problem executing the biggest events without a hitch; during those Taylor Swift shows, a traffic congestion study by StreetLight data found that MetLife Stadium was the only venue on the tour to experience a traffic decrease during the show.

And when soccer takes center stage in the summer of 2026, our region’s iconic tourist spots will make sure visitors have plenty to fill their schedules between matches. In a recent YouGov poll, more soccer fans wanted to visit New York New Jersey than any other American host city; it’s easy to see why.

FIFA World Cup 2026 will be our grandest sporting event yet, and our region’s leaders are committed to making it count. We’re working with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to make sure the tournament’s legacy lasts, spreading the love of soccer and its benefits to kids from all walks of life. We’re also collaborating with community groups and fellow government leaders to ensure everyone shares in the World Cup excitement, especially those in under-resourced communities.

We’re proud of our region’s status as the globe’s melting pot – our population comes from over 138 countries and speaks more than 200 languages. Our regional pride is strong, and it emerges because of our incredible diversity, not in spite of it.

This diversity powers our soccer fandom – no matter which nations are playing, or what time of day, you can bet every FIFA World Cup 2026 match in our region will be a sellout and that the fan fests will be rocking. That’s the beauty of a diverse region like ours – we’ve got a ready-made cheering section for every country on Earth.

At every step of our planning process, we’ve put our values first. We want FIFA’s leaders to take note of what our region stands for. On hot-button topics like immigration, public safety, and reproductive freedom, we’re confident we’re on the right side of history. Quite frankly, we don’t think we can say the same of every region in this country.

In the coming months, FIFA’s leadership will make their final decision about where their organization’s flagship match will be played. When it comes to logistics and infrastructure, we believe we’re best-suited to provide the game the stage it deserves. When our uniquely passionate fan base and regional cultural offerings are taken into account, our case only becomes stronger.

And when values – especially World Cup values like diversity, equal representation, and leaving a positive legacy – are considered, the choice becomes a no-brainer.

The decision is yours, FIFA.

Eric Adams is currently the 110th Mayor of the City of New York. Phil Murphy is serving his second term as Governor of the State of New Jersey.

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