2026 World Cup
New York/New Jersey is in the running to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup final but faces competition from Texas. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Development for the 2026 FIFA World Cup is already underway with selected venues across the host nations drawing up plans to be ready for hosting the tournament's matches.

The next World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with the final scheduled for July 19th, 2026.

The 16 venues and host cities were officially announced by FIFA in 2022 with 11 being from the US, three from Mexico and two from Canada. Among the US host cities is New York/New Jersey.

MetLife Stadium, located in the New Jersey borough of East Rutherford, is New York's representative venue for the 2026 World Cup and is among the lead contenders to host the final of the tournament.

The stadium, known for being home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets, has a seating capacity of 82,500 and is a multi-purpose arena. Being in the nation's biggest city and in one of the more accessible places in the US gives MetLife Stadium a great shot at hosting the 2026 World Cup final.

In order to comply with FIFA regulations for World Cup matches, construction must be undergone in parts of MetLife Stadium. World Cup matches are required to have pitches that measure 68-105 metres, whereas NFL stadiums use pitches that are 49-110 metres.

All 11 of the US venues for the World Cup are stadiums permanently occupied by NFL teams so all the venues will have to undergo notable physical transformations for the tournament.

MetLife Stadium is set to rip out 1740 seats so that there is more space in the corner sections of the pitch. After the World Cup, the plan is to install new removable seating in place of the corner seats that will be removed.

Last year, the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, outlined the desire for his state to host big games at the 2026 World Cup, including the final itself. He stated: "I speak on behalf of New Jersey but also as our partner of New York City, do not underestimate how aggressive we're prepared to be to get the best package of games possible."

In order to host the final, FIFA estimated that interested venues would need to hold a capacity of at least 74,000 for the World Cup. Even with the seat removals from the corner parts of the pitch, MetLife Stadium is reportedly planning for a capacity of at least 74,895 for the World Cup.

Murphy insisted that the amount of work needed to get MetLife Stadium ready for the tournament is much less in comparison to other US venues. He said: "The FIFA setback provisions really impact MetLife only at the corners. Other stadiums have a much tougher nut where they have to set the entire perimeter back."

Renovations for MetLife Stadium are allegedly set to cost over £11 million in order to be suitable for hosting matches at the World Cup.

The biggest competitor to MetLife Stadium in the hopes of hosting the 2026 World Cup final is AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The venue, which has a retractable roof, is home to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and has a capacity of 80,000 and an expandable capacity of 100,000.

AT&T Stadium is regarded as one of the best sporting venues in the world due to its impressive interior and exterior design. The venue will be required to remove the artificial turf on its pitch for the World Cup and replace it with real grass, with MetLife Stadium having to do the same.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles was previously reported to be in consideration to host the World Cup final, but concerns have been brought up over how much its pitch can be widened. Also, there have been disputes between the relevant parties over the potential revenue sharing that would be generated from matches played at the stadium.

This has led to Sofi Stadium reportedly no longer being a host venue at all for the 2026 World Cup, with zero games being played there possibly.

There is expected to be confirmation at some point in 2024 of venue scheduling for the tournament.

Before the 2026 World Cup arrives, MetLife Stadium and AT&T Stadium will host matches at this summer's COPA America, which is being held in the US. The stadiums will each host three matches, with MetLife Stadium hosting Argentina's group stage clash with Chile as well as one of the semi-finals.