Via: Dallas Sports Nation
Written by Kelly Walker
The Dallas 2026 Host Committee met virtually with FIFA representatives in Zurich Thursday, 23 morning.
As one of the 17 potential host cities, the presentation aims to earn Dallas hosting privileges for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, the largest to date with 48 national teams playing 60 matches in the USA, 10 in Canada, and 10 in Mexico.
The Host Committee includes a powerful and influential roster of leaders and organizations, including:
- FC Dallas President and Dallas 2026 Host Committee Chairman, Dan Hunt
- Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager, Jerry Jones
- Dallas Sports Commission Executive Director, Monica Paul
- Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Chad Estis
- AT&T Stadium General Manager, Tod Martin
- AT&T Stadium Director of Event Booking, Delanie Foley
- FC Dallas Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Smith
- FC Dallas Vice President of Media and Communications, Gina Miller
- Director of Transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Michael Morris
- Fair Park/Spectra General Manager, Peter Sullivan
The selling points for Dallas winning the bid include venues like AT&T Stadium, Toyota Soccer Complex, Toyota Stadium, Globe Life Field and Globe Life Park, transportation and ample parking, ethnic diversity, affordability, and several initiatives that would be put in place to add soccer fields and more to the metroplex in the next several years leading up to the World Cup.
In addition to the Host Committee, DFW sports leaders and athletes themselves are ready to welcome the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, including Dirk Nowitzki, Dak Prescott, FC Dallas Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez and more.
FIFA will visit each of the 17 cities before making a final decision in mid to late 2021.
The other potential U.S. host cities include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.
“Soccer is probably the most powerful sport in the entire world, and I say that because it truly is the global game,” said Dan Hunt, President of FC Dallas and Chairman of the Dallas 2026 Host Committee.
Dallas has a legacy connected to hosting this event. In 1994, Cotton Bowl at Fair Park hosted six FIFA World Cup™ matches, including a legendary quarterfinal match between Holland and Brazil. The 1994 competition is the most successful competition to date in terms of fan attendance (3,587,538 million) with an average match attendance of 68,991.
Dan Hunt was not only there at Fair Park in 1994, but he was also a ball boy.
The family ties to this city and this sport are so strong, including his own father, Lamar Hunt, leading the way for the Host Committee who brought that World Cup here in 1994.
“Going back to 1994, what we want to see coming out of the World Cup in 2026 is that soccer continues to grow here,” said Monica Paul, Executive Director, Dallas Sports Commission. “This really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a lasting and positive legacy for North Texas through the world’s most popular sport- soccer. Sports in Dallas are woven into the fabric of our culture. By hosting the World Cup, we have an opportunity to showcase North Texas to an international audience and generate a huge economic engine for our region.”
The Dallas Cowboys took this possibility into account when building AT&T Stadium, and say it’s ready for the task.
They’ve executed the grass conversion process before for soccer, and are fighting for the chance to be front and center in the World Cup.
“When I was thinking about building AT&T Stadium, I knew we wanted a great place for 100,000 people to have a unique experience. We’re ready to do what we can to make this World Cup the most special of them all,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones. “I was a close, personal friend of Lamar Hunt. I’m aware of his vision for soccer in the U.S. and I’m proud to be a partner with his family on this bid to host the World Cup.”
Experts forecast an estimated 3,000 new jobs will be created and that the local economy will receive an estimated $400-million economic boost by hosting World Cup matches. Hotels, car rentals, airports, restaurants, entertainment venues, retail – just the tip of the iceberg of the impact of hosting such a global tournament.
It’s not all or nothing for Dallas to get a piece of the pie. Several opportunities are on the table for host cities, including media headquarters, hosting national teams, FIFA Fan Fests, and early-stage games. However, it’s clear that the Dallas Host Committee is shooting for the stars.
Dan Hunt said it plain and simple, “We want the final.”
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