Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Arlington, Texas, will host the 2026 World Cup final. AT&T Stadium, the current home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, would be the winning venue for the massive match.
Despite the rumors, Dallas Sports Commission Executive Director Monica Paul claimed that there has not been a final decision just yet.
“We believe that Dallas is the perfect host for the 2026 World Cup [final],” said Paul. “FIFA has been an incredible partner every step of the bid process, and we expect a host city announcement in 2023. We’re thrilled that soccer fans across the world are eagerly awaiting word from FIFA.”
Nevertheless, there are some notable negatives with AT&T Stadium if it was officially chosen to host the final.
AT&T Stadium currently has an artificial field. While they do use a different type of turf for soccer matches compared to NFL games, it is still not real grass. Crews recently installed a Hellas Matrix REAL synthetic turf with Realfill infill at the stadium. Regardless, the turf is more prone to injuries than real grass.
FIFA, however, requires natural grass. This did not stop FIFA selecting a number of hosting locations that traditionally use artificial turf. AT&T Stadium joins SoFi Stadium, MetLife Stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Lumen Field, among others, to be users of artificial turf. Each of these locations must use real grass. Therefore, this pitch is temporary, perhaps prone to flaws in putting it together.
State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, could be a model to see how an indoor stadium, like AT&T Stadium, can use real grass effectively. However, other venues for the World Cup would be more reliable in its use of real grass.
Public transportation is an issue when going to a game at AT&T Stadium. While taxis and companies like Uber or Lyft get fans to the stadium, there does not appear to be a bus or train from Dallas to Arlington. A taxi ride from the heart of Dallas to the stadium could also cost up to $50.
Of course, public transportation is not necessarily a strong suit of many venues within the United States. That being said, there are likely preparations to be made regarding an uptick in the ease of access for the millions coming to the country for the tournament.
We don’t know of any final decision. But we are proud to have been named a World Cup host city, and we strongly believe Dallas is an ideal location for the World Cup final in 2026 and the International Broadcast Center. @fairparkdallas @visit_dallashttps://t.co/Nw5VVFEmMv
— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) September 27, 2022
Some area hotels do, however, offer shuttle rides to and from the stadium. It would be wise to check ahead before booking a stay.
Stadium Faces East-West
Although most modern stadiums now face north-south, AT&T Stadium faces east-west. This essentially means that fans, and players, can have the sun in their eyes depending on the time of day. This frustrating feature annoyed people inside the stadium for years.
While the stadium does have a retractable roof, there are huge windows on the sides of the walls. These windows allow sunlight in and makes things difficult to see in late afternoons. NFL games with the Dallas Cowboys, which usually kickoff around 4:30 p.m. ET, are under the constant threat of the sun beating in during the game.
When the World Cup comes, and games tack place around that same time locally, the same issues could arise.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire