DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – We’ve had the NBA All-Star Game, we’ve seen the World Series and the Super Bowl will be here early next year. North Texas officials had hoped to add another big sporting event to that list, but it wasn’t in the (red or yellow) cards. The United States had been in the running as a possible host nation for the World Cup, soccer’s championship event. Had the United States won the honor, it could have been huge for North Texas.
The official announcement came shortly before 10:00 a.m. Thursday morning from Zurich, Switzerland. Soccer fans and supporters gathered in the lobby of Dallas City Hall at 8:30 a.m. to watch the announcement live in hopes of celebrating the results. Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert had encouraged the public to join the watch party, which was attended by several FC Dallas players.
The 2018 and 2022 World Cup games were officially up for grabs, and early reports indicated that the first set would go to a European country. It ended up being Russia which won the honor. The 2022 World Cup is where the United States had focused its efforts, but the tournament will be played in Qatar.
Depsite the low overall popularity of soccer in the United States, the World Cup is the single largest sports competition in the world. Had the United States been selected to be the host nation, North Texas was already in the mix. Earlier this year, Dallas was selected to be one of 18 cities included in the bid. Officials wanted games to be played at both the Cotton Bowl and Cowboys Stadium.
The Cotton Bowl was home to World Cup matches back in 1994, with Fair Park hosting some other soccer events as well. The economic impact then was estimated at more than $300 million. So, needless to say, those who gathered at Dallas City Hall on Thursday morning wanted nothing more than to see the games return to North Texas.