The world’s biggest game needs to be played on the world’s biggest stage says New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who along with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy are making a pitch to land the 2026 World Cup Final.
The United States, Canada and Mexico will co-host the global football showcase in three years and the big prize still up for grabs is the venue for the final match.
Dallas and Houston along with Miami are expected to throw their hats in the ring while Los Angeles and its futuristic $5.5 billion SoFi Stadium appears to be the early front-runner along with New York/New Jersey.
But during a call with Reuters, Adams and Murphy made it clear that, as they see it, there is only one choice.
“The biggest game should be played on the biggest stage and there is no stage bigger on the globe than this region,” Adams told Reuters.
A YouGov online survey of professional football fans from across the U.S. released on Wednesday agreed with Adams and Murphy that New York/New Jersey was the preferred place for the final.
The survey found 21% of those polled wanted the final in New York/New Jersey followed by Los Angeles with 17% and Miami 10%.
But 25% polled expect to see Los Angeles awarded the marquee match with New York/New Jersey on 23%.
FIFA is expected to announce the locations for marquee games, including the World Cup Final, later this year.
Co-hosting is nothing new to New York/New Jersey, the cities having combined resources to stage the 2014 Super Bowl with New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium the venue for the game and New York providing the glitz and glamour.
The plan would be the same for the final with the 82,000 seat MetLife getting the match and the Big Apple being party central, hosting the many other events.
“If I had to guess we will get eight or nine games no matter what, that’s eight or nine Super Bowls in six weeks with an enormity of scale,” said Murphy. “Obviously we think we are absolutely well suited to host the final.
“It’s going to be a huge event unlike any other... this is sort of the grand daddy of them all.”
The New York/New Jersey pitch to FIFA will centre around the region’s diversity and experience staging big events.
New York is also one of the world’s largest media markets and has infrastructure in place to handle hundreds of thousands of visitors.
“No team or player will come to our region and feel homesick,” assured Adams. “You point to a country on the globe and you are going to find a community here.
“That is our biggest selling point, our diversity and how everyone is going to feel at home playing here.”
While the New York/New Jersey bid has its obvious strengths there are questions about violent crime which has made headlines recently.
“We are going to tell the real story,” said Adams. “We must now go in and get away from the fiction and show people the facts, this is the safest big city in America and we have one of the finest police departments on the globe and we know how to host big events.”
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