Meadowlands Warms Up for FIFA 2026 World Cup with Mdest24! Event

It was standing room only at the annual Mdest24! event on Friday, March 22, hosted by Meadowlands Live! Convention & Visitors Bureau (MLCVB). This year’s symposium focused on warming up for the FIFA 2026 World Cup games at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey. 

MC & MLCVB Sr. Dir. Judy Ross welcomed a sold out, standing room only crowd to the annual Mdest symposium, which this year kicked off plans for World Cup 26.

A division of the Meadowlands Chamber (MC), MLCVB hosted Mdest at MC Headquarters in Lyndhurst to help offer guidance to New Jersey businesses on how to best serve regional visitors related to the World Cup. The sold out discussion also drew hundreds to a livestream.

The Biggest World Cup in History

It may seem a long way off until the every-four-year event June 11-July 19, 2026 but it’s just a mere 800-ish days until the matches commence. The biggest sporting event in the world includes 104 games and 48 teams and is the biggest World Cup in history. The tournament will bring 78 matches to the U.S.,13 to Canada, and 13 to Mexico.

Axiom President Ron Simoncini moderated Mdest26!

As the Host Region of New York, New Jersey, preparations are in full swing to ensure a seamless and rewarding experience for visitors, businesses, and residents.

Eight games will be played at MetLife, including the final on July 19.

Mexico City is hosting the opener on June 11. The first game in the United States is in Los Angeles on Friday, June 12, 2026..

It’s estimated the matches will bring over 1 million spectators to the region. The full schedule is here.

Mdest24! Kick Off Event

Mdest featured speeches and panel discussions with key stakeholders from the NYNJ Host Committee, New Jersey Transit, New Jersey Office of Travel and Tourism, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and MetLife Stadium. Law firm Genova Burns, transportation service EZ Ride, tour operator Panorama Tours and customer experience company The Petrova Experience also weighed in.

The speakers offered valuable insights into their preparations for the World Cup and provided guidance to local businesses on seizing opportunities. Strategies were discussed for maximizing tourism revenue and economic benefits during the tournament.

Economic Opportunities and Legacy

NJSEA president and CEO Paul Juliano emphasized the significant economic benefits the World Cup will bring to various sectors. He also highlighted the event’s potential to leave a lasting legacy while showcasing the region’s diversity. 

“The World Cup brings tremendous economic benefits for the state’s travel and tourism industry as well as for restaurants and shopping destinations, for small businesses, for cultural and historic sites and so many more of our assets,” said Juliano.

Logistical Considerations

Kevin Corbett, president and CEO of NJ Transit, shared lessons learned from past events like the 2014 Super Bowl, emphasizing the importance of planning for larger crowds expected during the World Cup. 

NJ Transit is planning a new transit route from Secaucus to the stadium and recently received $35 million in state funding to develop designs to best serve MetLife for the World Cup 26 games.

EZ Ride CEO Avnish Gupta said that the area needs to be ready for transporting and accommodating a lot more than the 85,000 fans MetLife holds. Millions will be in the area for the games, even if they don’t have a ticket.

Compliance and Collaboration

Lauren LaRusso and Bruce Revman from the NYNJ Host Committee offered updates on progress and what’s to come. Revman said there will be fan fests in Liberty State Park and Corona Park in Queens as well as a final watch party in Central Park.

The committee is coordinating efforts between FIFA and New Jersey/New York City, including MetLife renovations, transportation planning, and the fan experience. It is tasked with executing all logistics, including security, transportation, training facilities, and FIFA fan fests.

The NYNJ Host Committee is also in charge of funding, which will largely come from private sources.

Cindy Capitani is the Communications & Content Manager at the Meadowlands Chamber. Send press releases and inquiries to