When the World Cup begins on Sunday, North Texas will be on the field and in the stands in Qatar as Dallas seeks to boost its bid to host key games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Dallas already knows it’s one of 16 cities in the US, Mexico and Canada that will host a World Cup game in four years’ time. It turns out the next four weeks could be crucial as well.
Monica Paul is executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission.
“OK, here’s the opportunity we have ahead of us for Dallas 2026,” Paul said Friday.
Paul will be part of a delegation from North Texas flying to Qatar in early December to see the venues up close and urge Fair Park to host the international broadcast center like Dallas did the last time the US did the 1994 host the World Cup.
“We’re going with a slightly larger delegation from the standpoint of an international broadcast center because we really think this is our next opportunity to get a bigger picture,” Paul said. “From Fair Park’s perspective, the passage of Proposition A last week was very important, that was crucial for us.”
Dallas voters recently approved a measure that would increase the hotel occupancy tax to fund a new downtown convention center and improvements at Fair Park.
Sunday’s kick-off of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has fans in North Texas primed for potential U.S. men’s soccer success.
Garrett Horvath is there the Fort Worth chapter of the American Outlaws, which supports everything related to US soccer and plans to see parties across North Texas Dallas, Fort Worth, McKinney and Denton.
Horvath adds that the interest and passion for the game is strong in North Texas and the Worlds is a chance to highlight that in a big way.
“We’re excited, let’s go, let’s push,” said Horvath.
A mural on the side of a building in West Davis and 7thth Street at Oak Cliff features Weston McKennie, the Little Elm product that started in FC Dallas’ youth academy and is expected to lead the USA team when they face Wales on Monday.
“I’m proud to call him a Texan and have him on our team and represent our state and our country,” Horvath said.
Fans of the US teams and the 31 other countries at the World Cup are expected to fill area restaurants and bars starting this weekend.
The Londoner, a British-style pub, is opening a location in Dallas at Mockingbird Station on Friday, just in time for the World Cup kick-off.
“It’s all hands-on deck, we’re looking forward to it, we’ll be here waiting for them,” general manager Andrew Bowen said on Friday.
Paul said Dallas wants to host a semi-final or maybe the World Cup final in 2026 and said strong, visible local support for the World Cup, which is now taking place in Qatar, will only help the bid.
“I think it’s very important that our community can show this excitement about what a World Cup 2026 could mean for us, that we support football at all levels, I think it’s very important,” said Paul.