DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas is vying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the world’s largest sporting event.
The Cotton Bowl and Fair Park played host to the 1994 World Cup, and city leaders say they believe that experience will help them score the event again.
Dallas Park Board President Bobby Abtahi is among those in the Dallas delegation trying to bring the worldwide attention back here. “I think the entire city should be excited. I see potential, I see endless possibilities,” he said.
Under the city’s plan, Abtahi says soccer matches would likely be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and perhaps the Cotton Bowl, along with other events. “I see fan fest at Fair Park, I see base camps for teams, I picture maybe Team USA practicing here at the Cotton Bowl,” he said.
Dallas is also hoping to become the sole site for the International Broadcast Center, where 10,000 media representatives from around the world will broadcast the matches for one month.
Crews would be setting up studios for five months before that.
Studies show this event would generate hundreds of millions of dollars to the North Texas economy and create between 5,000 to 8,000 jobs for two to eight months.
Abtahi says, “That has a huge impact on hotel rooms and economic impact and just really putting Dallas on the map.”
Daniel Huerta, who oversees Fair Park, was here in 1994, when Dallas last hosted the International Broadcast Center. “It was an exciting time because it was the first time the World Cup was going to be played in the United States.The Centennial Building and Automobile Building were filled with studios, studios of all the various countries from all over the world. It was kind of exciting to walk into those buildings to hear the interviews taking place,” he said.
After the 1994 World Cup in Dallas, the team that would become FC Dallas was formed, and Abtahi says the team is actively participating in the new bid. “FC Dallas has been a great partner in this,” he said.
But before history can repeat itself in 2026, more than 30 years later, FIFA must choose a united bid from the U.S., Canada and Mexico over Morocco – this June.
If they do, it wouldn’t be until 2020 or 2021 before Dallas finds out if it achieves its goal of hosting the games.
Abtahi says, “Dallas should be selected because we’ve done this before. We have a history, we have a track record doing this.”
The Dallas Park Board unanimously approved a resolution Thursday for the city to submit a bid.
The city council’s Quality of Life Committee will be briefed on this Monday before it goes before the full city council next month.