New York and New Jersey stepped up their bid to host the final of the 2026 World Cup by promising a spectacle on par with “eight Super Bowls” at a launch event on Thursday for the tournament, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino gave no indication as to which of the host cities across the three countries would stage the finale when the venues were announced last year.
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The neighboring states, which will welcome fans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey — face stiff competition from Los Angeles, whose $5.5 billion indoor-outdoor SoFi Stadium in Inglewood has more of a razzmatazz appeal.
“We want to host the final. There is no better place to host the final than at MetLife Stadium,” said retired NFL great Michael Strahan, who made his name with the New York Giants but has now fallen in love with soccer.
“This is football, OK? That thing I did is guys running around in tight pants running into each other.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who was joined at the Times Square launch by New York Mayor Eric Adams, promised a spectacle beyond what the region has ever seen before.
The venue, then known as Giants Stadium, hosted seven World Cup matches in 1994 and four during the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
“We think we’re going to get at least eight games — that’s eight Super Bowls,” said Murphy.
“Every single ticket will be sold out, I guarantee you. No matter who’s playing.”
The launch event was among several in host cities across the continent on Thursday, a day after Los Angeles launched the “WE ARE 26” campaign to promote the tournament.
Infantino declined to be drawn into whether the fact that Los Angeles was hosting the brand launch meant that it would host the 2026 World Cup final.
“Of course Los Angeles is an important city, is one of the 16 [host] cities,” he said.
“But, obviously, it is a hub. It is an entry hub in America. It is the city where the final of the last World Cup in United States was played as well. We don’t know yet where the final of this World Cup will be played. This is still up for grabs, so to say. So please send us your offers and make sure that we beef up the proposals, but Los Angeles will be one of the important cities of this World Cup, definitely.”
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani added that they would “probably have an announcement later on in the year” regarding the location of the final.