The recent announcement that MetLife Stadium will be hosting the 2026 World Cup Final has generated lots of buzz around the Meadowlands. As millions of eager soccer fans plan to travel to New Jersey to watch the eight matches that will be played there as part of the tournament, the financial effects this will have on the state will be drastic.
The World Cup is expected to bring billions of dollars and 14,000 jobs to the region, which displays the true magnitude of this event. In 2022, the World Cup Final between Argentina and France drew almost 1.5 billion viewers, more than 10 times the amount of last year’s Super Bowl. The viewership has continued to trend upwards, sitting at 1.1 billion in 2018 and 1 billion in 2014.
“As an advocate for this region, and a lifelong soccer fan, I am thrilled that FIFA chose to place their trust in New York New Jersey to host the historic FIFA World Cup 26 Final,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our entire region; hosting the Final provides NYNJ an unparalleled platform to brilliantly showcase what we stand for – diversity, equality, access, and inclusion.”
Governor Murphy has estimated that the upcoming World Cup will generate $2 billion for New Jersey and New York, largely due to the final. However, the state will need to put some of its own money to prepare for the tournament. While a number cannot be estimated yet, New Jersey has already spent $16 million on the stadium, working to meet FIFA’s requirements, which include changes in seating, replacing the turf with grass and improving NJ Transit to accommodate the influx of visitors that will be seeking transportation to the games.
NJ Transit is already spending roughly $35 million on a new route from Secaucus to MetLife Stadium. The cost of preparing for the World Cup will not just fall on New Jersey, however, as the bid to host the finals was a collective effort between New York and New Jersey. Consequently, New York will be splitting the costs of getting ready for the World Cup.
“The FIFA World Cup 26 Final will be a generation-defining moment for New York New Jersey, and there’s no better place to host the world’s biggest game than the world’s biggest stage,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “New York New Jersey is ready for North America to be the center of the soccer world, and the history we’ll be making in 2026 will create lifetime memories for fans, provide new opportunities for our communities, infuse billions into our economy, and help shape our region and propel it forward for decades to come.”
MetLife Stadium has played host to some of the biggest events in the world, ranging from Super Bowls to WrestleMania, but none of them come close to the World Cup Final in size. The 2026 World Cup is said to be the largest single-sport event in history and all eyes will be on the Meadowlands when its biggest game is played.