The Fédération Internationale de Football Association announced in February that nine matches of the World Cup will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2026. Courtesy of Arlington, Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau.

June 11, 2024

Back in February, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association announced that North Texas would be not be home to the final World Cup game in 2026. However, the DFW region was granted the second highest honor — nine World Cup matches will be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, more than any other host city.

While local leaders and businesses are gearing up to show-off the region's famous Texas hospitality, a committee working with the Dallas Sports Commission aims to make sure organizers consider sustainability in their plans.


The Dallas Sports Commission estimates that over the course of 34 days, DFW will see 2.3 million fans. The commission estimates that four matches will bring in approximately $415 million to the area, but economic projections for nine matches is still to be determined. 

“We are still working on an updated economic impact number for the nine matches plus ancillary events that will be taking place here in the DFW area,” says the Commission’s executive director, Monica Paul. “We hope to have something by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Meghna Tare, the chief sustainability officer at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been tasked with spearheading the implementation of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Sustainability Plan

Tare has already kicked off the first sustainability committee meeting, where she presented the many environmental topics they will be addressing — such as waste management, water, energy efficiency, carbon and climate, transportation, LEED-certified stadiums, air quality, biodiversity and environmental justice.

“The focus is on using the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for long-term environmental progress in the region,” says Tare. “We will minimize our environmental footprint, empower communities, and leave a legacy of positive change. We are getting started with stakeholder engagement and baseline assessment and make progress steadily.”

“The focus is on using the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for long-term environmental progress in the region,” says Meghna Tare, leader of the DFW World Cup Games Sustainability Committee.

Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment suggests one way the World Cup can be sustainable is having a goal of zero waste

“The World Cup can do what they do at Dell Diamond where the Round Rock Express baseball team plays. All their concessions use compostable materials. There is no need for trash bins at the ballpark,” Schneider said, adding that Dell Diamond has a contract with Texas Disposable Systems.


One area that is central in the event planning is transportation. 

When Met Life Stadium in New York beat out DFW for the World Cup Final, many pointed to Arlington’s lack of public transportation as the main reason why North Texas lost the bid.

However, Michael Morris, who is the director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said NCTCOG hatched a way to fill in the transportation gap that likely helped secure nearly a dozen matches leading up to the final. 

“We think we have nine events because they [FIFA] must have liked the stadium, the region, the hotels and, I think, the transportation plan,” Morris said in a story by KERA and the Fort Worth Report. “They quickly realized how comprehensive this particular vision is, which I think is what sort of blew them away.”

The Council’s plan is to use charter buses, much needed in the city of Arlington where there is no public transportation. Morris has also proposed a “bus bridge,” or a bus service that will supplement the Trinity Railway Express rail line, bringing people coming from Fort Worth or Dallas to the CenterPort station onto the stadium.

“We went to four Super Bowls before we put the transportation plan together for our Super Bowl — Super Bowl 45,” Morris said. “So (FIFA’s) hearing from someone who’s done this before, versus they go to a lot of U.S. cities and those plans haven’t even been put in place in those cities.”

Driving individual cars is still an option. Fans can utilize toll lanes and parking at AT&T Stadium, but Morris said he doesn’t expect many people will be driving, given the international audience of this major sporting event.

“These (people) are from other countries; they drive on a different side of the road. They’ll be nervous driving anyways, and we hit that really hard in our presentation,” he told KERA.

In addition to the bus bridge, NCTCOG has proposed purchasing a fleet of electric buses for transit during the games. 

The Regional Transportation Council voted April 11 to apply for funding through the Federal Transit Administration's 2024 Low or No Emissions and Bus/Bus Facilities Competitive Grant Program.

If the grant is received, it would fund 59 electric buses. Fifty of them would be used during the games. The other nine would go to Trinity Metro for service in the rest of Tarrant County, Morris said. 

Following the World Cup, Morris said the buses could be loaned out for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Then, the buses would be returned to North Texas for local use.


NCTCOG's transportation plan, says Morris, works well with FIFA's climate strategy that includes a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent.

Many of the major sports events are striving to be more climate conscious.

This year’s Super Bowl LVIII was the first football game to be powered by 100 percent renewable, carbon-free energy. 

The Las Vegas Raiders transitioned Allegiant Stadium to rely solely on 100 percent CFE, thanks to more than 621,000 solar panels located across the Nevada desert. By collaborating with NetZero, a climate accountability company, the Raiders and Allegiant Stadium worked together on decarbonization initiatives. 

Such partnerships, reports the Waste360 Newsletter, a network of waste and recycling industry professionals, are part of a new era of sustainability in sports, in which sustainability and business practices work together toward a shared goal.


Courtesy of City of Dallas and Dallas Sports Commission.

The key venues across the Dallas-Fort Worth area that will help host the tournament include:

    •    Match Venue: AT&T Stadium

    •    Base Camps: Dallas Baptist University, Toyota Stadium, University of Dallas, TCU

    •    Training Venues: Cotton Bowl Stadium, SMU

    •    Fan Festival: Fair Park

    •    Fan Activations: Dallas Arlington, Fort Worth, Frisco

    •    International Broadcast Center: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas



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