During a dramatic announcement, with an anticipating crowd including Gov. Phil Murphy and New York City Mayor Eric Adams gathered at a Liberty State Park watch party, FIFA made the official announcement Thursday that New Jersey and New York had been selected as a 2026 World Cup Host City.
“Was that good news or what?” Murphy asked immediately after the announcement, on a stage with the Statue of Liberty behind him.
He joked that FIFA made them sweat by announcing their successful bid last. But the wait was certainly worth it.
The tournament is the largest sporting event in the world and brings not only a projected economic impact of up to $500 million, but the opportunity to showcase the area during such a prominent and prestigious global event.
“I don’t have to speculate what this will mean for the region,” said Murphy, referencing the 1994 World Cup, which the area hosted as well. “It was a huge experience. It helped relaunch soccer in America. It had an economic impact in the region of over $500 million dollars. And we know what that looks like. And 2026 will be even better. So, mark your calendars for the summer of 2026.”
The bid process has been a long and arduous one with efforts ongoing since last year. NJBIZ has extensively reported on the joint pitch made by the two states with the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution, also in 2026, at the heart of their bid.
The matches will be hosted at MetLife Stadium. The 2026 World Cup will be the largest tournament in history with 48 teams playing across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
We are honored to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup with our neighbors across the Hudson, and we are fully prepared to deliver the world-class experience that the beautiful game deserves.
— Gov. Phil Murphy
“Future generations of New Jerseyans will remember fondly that, on the heels of a global pandemic, the biggest sporting event in the world was hosted by the greatest region in the world. In addition to building upon our lasting global legacy, as a host region we will also benefit from significant economic activity and impact, as well as opportunities to showcase the rich cultural diversity of our state,” Murphy said.
“The biggest sporting event in the world is coming to biggest stage, and New York City cannot wait to welcome the world to our region,” said Adams.
“On behalf of the New York Football Giants and New York Jets, we are honored to be selected as an official venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said MetLife Stadium President and CEO Ron VanDeVeen. “We look forward to hosting the world’s largest sporting event and welcoming the teams and their fans from around the globe to MetLife Stadium.”
Today’s announcement achieved that first goal – no pun intended – but Murphy reiterated while they are hoping to land a lot of games, there is one they have their eye on.
“We want the last game,” he said. “We want the World Cup trophy hoisted right here up the road in MetLife Stadium. Look at that backdrop. How could you not play the finals here? Look at New York City, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island. It screams diversity. It screams our immigrant roots. And it screams soccer.”
In 1994, Giants Stadium played host to seven games, including a quarterfinal and semifinal match. Giants Stadium also served as the site for the opening match of the women’s FIFA World Cup in 1999.
In addition to the matches that will be played at MetLife Stadium, there will be a series of FIFA Fan Fest sites around the region. The proposed training facilities include Rutgers University, The Pingry School, Kean University, Red Bull Football Club Training Facility, and the New York City Football Club Training Facility.
To commemorate the big announcement, iconic building, stadiums and landmarks, along with electronic highway signs around New Jersey and New York are expected to light up with messages of celebration throughout Thursday night.
“Welcome world,” said Murphy.