New Jersey could host FIFA World Cup Finals
Officials from FIFA, the soccer world's governing body, will be touring New Jersey as they scout sites for the 2026 World Cup.
The apt named World Cup is the world's largest sporting event, and will be held in the U.S., Mexico and Canada five years from now. In a joint bid with New York, New Jersey is hoping to play a large role in the competition.
In 1994, seven playoff games were held at the former Giants Stadium. This time, New Jersey is aiming even higher: World Cup Finals.
FIFA officials will tour Metlife Stadium today as Governor Phil Murphy accompanies them to the Meadowlands and other sites around New Jersey that could be used for practices and other official activities.
17 U.S. cities are vying to host some of the games. The FIFA delegation has already visited Boston, Nashville, Atlanta and Orlando.
Metlife stadium has been reported to be a leading contender to host the World Cup's biggest event, but no formal decision has been made. It is the largest venue under consideration as a host site.
FIFA will also check out Rutgers, Red Bull Arena in Harrison, the Pingry School and sites in New York City as practice facilities.
The economic benefit to New Jersey could be significant. State officials have estimated a half-billion dollar boost to the metro area. However, hosting will not come without a cost. In addition to security and transportation costs, the artificial turf at Metlife would have to be replaced with natural grass.
FIFA officials have generally been impressed with the locations they have already scouted in the U.S., but have said little about individual cities. A decision on which sites will be used for the competition could come early next year.