The governor of New Jersey leaped from his chair and raised his hands high above his head as if he had just scored the winning goal in a World Cup final. In a way, he had.
Gathered around a TV in a lounge at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with a group of colleagues, family and friends on Sunday, Gov. Phil Murphy watched as Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, announced that MetLife Stadium would be the site of the 2026 World Cup final.
Mr. Murphy and his team had spent years working to land the coveted event, and they already knew that the stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands would host at least seven matches in the next men’s World Cup. But the championship game of the largest sporting event in the world is the ultimate prize for any would-be host.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mr. Murphy said in a telephone interview on Monday. “The significance of a World Cup final dwarfs anything else in global sports. I am just beyond thrilled that we were honored with the final game.”
New York New Jersey — as the host city has been designated by FIFA — was selected over Dallas to host the final, even though AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., is considered an architectural jewel and Dallas’s host committee made a very strong bid. But the New York area, with its cosmopolitan profile, hospitality infrastructure and tourist sites, won out.
The last World Cup final, between Argentina and France in Qatar in 2022, was viewed by an estimated 1.5 billion people globally. This World Cup will be held in 16 cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico and is the first to expand to 48 participating nations, so even more people could reasonably be expected to watch the next final. MetLife stadium holds about 80,000 people, but for a month leading up to the grand finale on July 19, 2026, the world’s eyes will be focused on the New York metropolitan region.
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