New York and New Jersey stepped up their bid to host the 2026 World Cup Finals by promising a spectacle on par with “eight Super Bowls” at Thursday’s kick-off event of the tournament, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
When the venues were announced last year, FIFA President Gianni Infantino did not specify which of the three countries’ venues would host the final.
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Neighboring states, who will greet their fans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, face Los Angeles, whose $5.5 billion indoor-outdoor SoFi Stadium in Inglewood has more of a razzmatazz appeal has.
“We want to host the final. There’s no better place to host the Finals than MetLife Stadium,” said retired NFL star Michael Strahan, who made his name with the New York Giants but has now fallen in love with football.
“It’s football, okay? What I’ve been doing is guys walking around in tight pants and bumping into each other.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who was joined at the Times Square opening by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, promised a spectacle the region had never seen before.
The venue, then known as Giants Stadium, hosted seven World Cup games in 1994 and four during the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
“We think we’re going to play at least eight games — that’s eight Super Bowls,” Murphy said.
“Every single ticket will be sold out, I guarantee you that. It doesn’t matter who’s playing.”
The kick-off event took place on Thursday, the day after Los Angeles launched the “WE ARE 26” campaign to promote the tournament, one of several in host cities across the continent.
Infantino declined to elaborate on whether the fact that Los Angeles hosted the brand launch meant that the 2026 World Cup finals would also be held there.
“Of course Los Angeles is an important city, it’s one of the 16 [host] cities,” he said.
“But obviously it’s a crossroads. It is an entry hub in America. It is the city that hosted the final of the last World Cup in the United States. We don’t know yet where the final of this World Cup will be held.” The cup will be held. It’s still open, so to speak. So please send us your offers and make sure we reinforce the proposals, but Los Angeles will definitely be one of the most important cities of this World Cup.”
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani added that they would make an announcement on the final venue “probably later in the year”.