When the World Cup kicks off Sunday, North Texas will have representation on the field and in the stands in Qatar, as Dallas looks to strengthen its bid to host key games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Dallas already knows it’s one of 16 U.S., Mexico and Canada cities hosting a World Cup game in four years. It turns out the next four weeks, could be crucial too.
Monica Paul is the executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission.
“OK, here’s the opportunity we have in front of us for Dallas 2026,” Paul said Friday.
Paul will be part of a North Texas delegation flying to Qatar in early December to see venues up close and push for Fair Park to host the international broadcast center, as Dallas did the last time the U.S. hosted the World Cup in 1994.
“We’re taking a little larger delegation from an international broadcast center standpoint because we really feel that’s kind of our next opportunity to get a larger grasp on,” Paul said. “Very important from a Fair Park standpoint the passage of Proposition A last week, that was critical for us.”
Dallas voters recently approved the measure which increased the hotel occupancy tax to pay for a new downtown convention center and improvements at Fair Park.
More immediately, the kickoff of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday in Qatar has fans in North Texas ready for potential U.S. Men’s Soccer success right now.
Horvath adds interest and passion for the game in North Texas is strong and the World Cup is a chance to highlight it in a big way.
“We’re excited, let’s go, let’s push,” Horvath said.
A mural on the side of a building on West Davis and 7th Street in Oak Cliff features Weston McKennie, the Little Elm product who started in the F.C. Dallas youth academy and is expected to lead the U.S. team when they take the pitch Monday against Wales.
“I’m proud to call him a Texan and have him be on our team and represent our state and our country,” Horvath said.
U.S. team fans and those of the 31 other countries in the World Cup are expected to fill area restaurants and bars starting this weekend.
The Londoner, a U.K. themed pub, is opening a Dallas location at Mockingbird Station on Friday just in time for the World Cup kickoff.
“It’s all hands-on deck, we’re excited for it, we’ll be here waiting for them,” general manager Andrew Bowen said Friday.
Paul said Dallas wants to host a semifinal or perhaps the World Cup Final in 2026 and says strong, visible local support for the World Cup happening now in Qatar, will only help the bid.
“I think for our community to be able to show that excitement, what a World Cup may mean for us in 2026, that we support soccer at all levels, I think is very important,” Paul said.
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