Visit Frisco, the city’s marketing arm, has joined several North Texas organizations in an effort to host matches at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The games could trigger an estimated $415 million economic boost to the DFW metroplex, according to data from the Dallas Sports Commission.
In total, 17 regions are bidding for 10 slots to host World Cup matches. Josh Dill, Visit Frisco director of sports and events, expects that FIFA will determine which regions host games in the first quarter of next year.
Dill said officials with FIFA; the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football; and the U.S. Soccer Federation spent a weekend in late October touring the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Toyota Stadium at 9200 World Cup Way alongside FC Dallas and city leadership. From there, Dill said they toured Fair Park in Dallas, Sundance Square in Fort Worth, AT&T Stadium and other potential training sites.
“We think we put our best foot forward,” Dill said. “We feel very strongly that we've done what we can to make this happen for the DFW region.”
The primary role Toyota Stadium would play in the 2026 World Cup would be to allow competing teams to “live and train and basically make their home base” in Frisco, according to Dill. He added Frisco’s National Soccer Hall of Fame could spur media events and visits from fans attending matches.
The campaign is also seeking to establish the World Cup’s International Broadcast Centre in DFW. Dill said the IBC would be a central location for an estimated 10,000 media members.
World Cup matches in the area means that team players, officials and fans will need somewhere to stay, Dill said. Visit Frisco officials believe the sporting event could trigger a major boost to the region’s hotel industry.
“We really believe as a local organizing committee that we're going to have hotels impacted by all of these activities,” Dill said. “Any hotel, probably within a 200-mile radius, is going to have some sort of impact.”
FC Dallas President Dan Hunt had similar thoughts. The leader of the local soccer team said he believes the World Cup would be a great “sales pitch” for FC Dallas and Frisco.
“If this is their base camp, you'll have a number of fans who pick the area, stay here in Frisco ... and hopefully get to watch the team train,” Hunt said. “That’s hotel nights. That’s restaurants. That's all sorts of different ways to drive revenue for this great community.”
Hunt said FIFA will ask follow-up questions Dec. 7 related to the region’s facilities and “human rights, legacy and sustainability.”
“This is a great way for the taxpayers to get a return on their investment in their local sports teams,” Hunt said. “We’re hopeful. We’re very optimistic of the selection opportunity.”