2026 World Cup: Why (and how) Meadowlands Chamber is playing lead role for businesses looking to capitalize

The overflow crowd at the Meadowlands Chamber event on the World Cup on Friday showed the enormous interest the business community in North Jersey has for the 2026 World Cup.

It also shows that businesses and municipalities know they need a complete understanding of the situation to be able to take advantage of it — something that did not necessarily happen during the Super Bowl in 2014.

The event featured panels and conversations on transportation (there is plenty of room for private companies to benefit alongside New Jersey Transit) and hospitality (how you treat international visitors during what is now an 800-day leadup is key).

It also discussed how FIFA will guard its trademarks and intellectual property to a far greater extent than even the NFL (which fights against anyone using the term “Super Bowl”).

More than anything, it established that the Meadowlands Chamber — which will work in tandem with the NY/NJ Host Committee and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority — is the go-to source for knowledge.

Longtime chamber CEO Jim Kirkos said that is a role his group is eager to take on.

“The 2026 World Cup will be the biggest event the Meadowlands has ever held,” he said. “We want to make sure the area is ready to capture it — and they can’t capture it unless they fully understand it.”

That’s why the Friday event was the first of many, Kirkos said.

“We are going to bring experts from all aspects of this to inform our businesses and municipalities,” he said.

New Jersey Transit CEO Kevin Corbett, Panorama Tours CEO Michelle Petelicki and EZ Ride Chief Operating Officer Avnish Gupta.

On Friday, the audience heard from NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett, Panorama Tours CEO Michelle Petelicki and EZ Ride Chief Operating Officer Avnish Gupta about the opportunities for transit — not just getting fans to the games, but getting visitors around North Jersey.

The fact that this a not a one-day (or one-week) event, like the Super Bowl, was a big part of all of the panels.

The gathering also heard from Jeff Vasser, the executive director of the New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism, who stressed that his agency is viewing the event as a two-month festival, where visitors from all over the globe will descend on the area — looking for things to do (and places to eat) when they are not watching the eight matches played at MetLife Stadium.

Jeff Vasser, the executive director of the New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism.

Vasser noted another key point: Businesses in North Jersey need to fully understand how the six matches to be played in Philadelphia and seven matches in Boston also play into the equation.

South Jersey can capture a lot of the fans (and their spending power) who are interested in games in Philadelphia. And it makes sense that some visitors will prefer to anchor themselves in North Jersey — and then travel to Philly and Boston on gamedays.

Bruce Revman of the NY/NJ Host Committee explained why the regional aspect of the event should be embraced, too. He discussed the plan to ensure all of New York City and North Jersey are activated for the event.

Yes, Liberty State Park in Jersey City figures to be the main fan venue in New Jersey, but there will be numerous opportunities in other municipalities.

The possibilities seemingly are endless. If you follow the rules.

William Heller of Genova Burns.

That was the key message from William Heller of Genova Burns, the former general counsel of the New York Giants.

Few know the significant details that come along with trademark enforcement as well as Heller, who not only was witness to a Super Bowl in New Jersey but the NFL’s efforts to expand into Europe.

Different countries — and different companies — have different legal understandings of how things should be done. Knowing the rules of engagement ahead of time is key, Heller said.

In the coming months, FIFA will release more information on the rules and regulations around what comes with being an official sponsor of the event.

The Meadowlands Chamber, with experts such as Heller, will continue to have meetings to discuss the dos and don’ts moving forward.

The event, after all, will have greater impact and opportunity than the Super Bowl, WrestleMania and all those concerts from Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé combined.

“We feel it is our obligation to make sure our stakeholders are aware of everything that’s going on,” Kirkos said. “That’s what today was all about — and there’ll be plenty more days like this moving forward.

“We want to make sure every business and municipality is ready for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”