NJ World Cup final — over a million visitors to hit the region in 2026
Businesses are already salivating over the prospect of summer 2026, when MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford will not only host a handful of World Cup matches — it'll be the site of the holy grail of soccer matchups: the final.
According to the Murphy Administration, hosting World Cup matches at MetLife (known as New York New Jersey Stadium for the tournament), including the last one on July 19, 2026, should generate over $2 billion in economic impact for the region.
The tournament is expected to bring over a million visitors to the region. Roughly half of them will be non-ticketholders.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "If we do it right, we're going to benefit in so many ways."
Conversations about how to benefit from the tournament started over the weekend, Bracken said — that's when the schedule of games was released, along with the fact that New Jersey would be hosting the final match.
And more than the Meadowlands region should feel the power of the World Cup pull.
"With our infrastructure, our trains, our Turnpike, our Parkway — that makes venues even an hour away very attractive," Bracken said.
World Cup matches will be played in Philadelphia as well, likely resulting in added business in New Jersey counties that are close to the city.
Business leaders see the World Cup as an opportunity to showcase everything New Jersey has to offer. The Garden State will be in the international spotlight, potentially opening the door to more major events in the future.
"We know preparing for this global event will be challenging but we look forward to ensuring our hotels, restaurants and overall tourism community is prepared to show the world how great it is in New Jersey," said Amanda Stone, director of government affairs for the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association.
The global reach of the World Cup final in 2022 was 1.5 billion. For comparison, the last Super Bowl had about 153 million viewers worldwide.
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