Stadium story: Where MetLife had advantage over AT&T — and what’s up with new name?

The final of the 2026 World Cup will be played at … New York New Jersey Stadium. Huh?

MetLife is getting plenty of free branding after the stadium with its name was awarded the biggest game on the planet Sunday. How long that will last is unclear.

FIFA, which controls all aspects of the World Cup, does not recognize naming rights deals for stadiums, thus the creatively boring name of New York New Jersey Stadium is on all FIFA releases.

It’s the same reason why matches to be played at Lincoln Financial Field will take place at Philadelphia Stadium.

And, while the name of the stadium isn’t important to the bid — the stadium itself played a role in the decision.

No one disputes the fact that AT&T Stadium (known as Dallas Stadium) is the better venue — especially in terms of luxury box accommodations, where AT&T has more.

The field and playing conditions are another matter.

Both stadiums feature an artificial surface. And, while each stadium certainly followed FIFA protocol to provide a grass surface, there was some concern how that surface would hold up over six weeks in Dallas, which has a domed stadium.

The dome seemingly did have one big advantage: weather.

While both areas have challenges with summer storms, some felt Dallas (because of the dome) would have an advantage. Insiders said that may not have been the case.

For one, FIFA may have had reservations about playing an indoor final, which it has never done.

Then there’s this: The New York/New Jersey bid committee took a proactive stance on the issue.

Once it got word of concern about weather, the committee quickly commissioned a weather study that showed weather has not canceled an event at MetLife in more than seven years.

As for the name, there’s not a whole that can be done there. FIFA gets to name it. And, like so many others, it apparently thinks East Rutherford is in New York.