Gov. Phil Murphy said he feels New Jersey and MetLife Stadium now have a 50-50 chance of hosting the final game of the 2026 Men’s World Cup — and gave a sneak peak of how the state (and region) will act during the tournament.
The governor, speaking Friday morning at an event sponsored by the Meadowlands Chamber, said he feels FIFA is down to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands and AT&T Stadium in Dallas as the venue for what will be the most-watched sporting event in the world that year.
Murphy did not explain why he feels it is down to these two sites. It has long been believed that SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles also is in contention.
The 2026 event is being hosted by the U.S., Canada and Mexico — with a great majority of the games being played in the U.S.
MetLife Stadium already has been named as a site for games, but how many — and which ones — has not been announced.
Murphy said he’s confident that MetLife Stadium will host at least eight games of what will be an expanded tournament (it will be the first tournament with 48 countries, up from 36).
“That’s eight Super Bowls in six weeks,” he said.
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And, while hosting a semifinal (as New Jersey did in 1994) would be the minimum the state would get, Murphy said his team is working hard to get the final.
“We are still competing aggressively,” he said. “I’d say that’s a 50-50 proposition against Dallas, of all places, but it is what it is.”
Murphy thinks the region’s bid is worthy of the big game.
For starters, there will be huge fan fest events (with big-screen coverage of games) at Liberty State Park as well as Times Square in New York City and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Murphy said the city has told FIFA it will show the final in Central Park, should it be played in the region.
Fan support from the state’s diverse population is another key to the bid, Murphy said.
“We’ll be one of the few places that sells every seat to every game,” he said — including a potential matchup of Vietnam and Denmark, two countries that have qualified.
“There’s only one place in North America that’s going to sell that game out and it’s Jersey,” he said.