How much has the U.S. become a soccer country? Enough for an unconfirmed rumor about the host venue for the 2026 World Cup Final to become a viral sensation in just a few hours.
A report from The Sun—a tabloid in London—reporting AT&T Stadium in North Texas beat out MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for the final tournament match swept across the American media landscape and was almost immediately picked up by dozens of other news outlets. The problem: FIFA insists it has not finalized its choice, and the match schedule for the upcoming World Cup won’t be announced until Feb. 4.
“We continue to work with FIFA leadership to lay the groundwork as we prepare to host the largest FIFA World Cup to date and are eager, like the other host cities, to find out what matches will be assigned to us,” said Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a passionate advocate for the MetLife Stadium bid, also said this week he believes that the venue remains in the hunt for the coveted final, with no notification either way made from FIFA.
“I think our odds remain about where they’ve been. I would put it plus-or-minus 50/50,” Murphy told The Bergen Record.
As the anticipation for FIFA’s decision mounts, both markets continue to do everything they can to tip the scales. Dallas is leaning into an unprecedented multi-venue, festival proposal that would incorporate the neighboring Texas Rangers ballparks, both past and present, in addition to AT&T Stadium. MetLife Stadium is removing seats in an effort to accommodate FIFA’s wider field requirements.
The battle for the World Cup Final also involves many of the sports industry’s most prominent figures, including Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and FC Dallas president Dan Hunt.