MetLife Stadium Planning To Remove Over 1,700 Seats In Bid To Host 2026 World Cup Final 

East Rutherford, New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium officials are planning to remove 1,740 seats to widen their field for World Cup matches, as the stadium places their bid to host the 2026 final.

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MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is planning to remove 1,740 seats as a means of widening their field to host matches for the World Cup as the stadium places their bid to host the 2026 finals. 

MetLife Stadium is currently one of the venues contending to host the final of the 48-nation, 104-game World Cup, which will take place on July 19th 2026; AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is also bidding to host the final. 

FIFA has yet to set a date for their announcement of the sites in which specific games will take place. Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s governor, stated in a telephone interview last fall that New York and New Jersey are very passionate about their bid to host this iconic event that brings together millions of fans around the world.

“I speak on behalf of New Jersey but also as our partner of New York City, do not underestimate how aggressive we’ve prepared to be to get the best package of games possible.”

FIFA is running the 2026 World Cup by itself without a local organizing committee. In a statement, they said: “The few stadiums that require capital projects are handling each project differently – with some venues scheduling the work across multiple NFL off-seasons, while others plan to complete everything at once sometime between now and spring 2026.” 

MetLife initially opened over 10 years ago, 2010, and has had some of the largest sports crowds since, with over 83,000 attendees for a Jets-Giants NFL game in October. In their World Cup bid, they have an estimated capacity of around 74,895. Spokesperson Helen Strus stated that the current dimension for soccer matches is 70-by-115 yards.

Strus also discussed the construction and renovation plans for the stadium, stating that construction will mainly be in the corners and extend along the sidelines. Field-level club areas will not be impacted, and the removed seats will be replaced with removable sections for after the World Cup. 

Governor Murphy also stated that they’re still negotiating who will pay for the construction costs of the renovation.

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“The FIFA setback provisions really impact MetLife only at the corners. Other stadiums have a much tougher nut where they have to set the entire perimeter back. FIFA wants a deal that works for them. New Jersey and New York City – remember our partners New York City – we’re prepared clearly to put serious skin in the game. In fact, we have already.”

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Both MetLife and AT&T Stadiums will have to replace their artificial turf with grass if they are to host the World Cup. Governor Murphy is also hoping that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), will stage a European Champions League final at MetLife as well. 

“We would be able to sell 10 stadiums worth of tickets for the Uefa Champions League final. We would welcome the opportunity, and I’ve said many times I welcome the opportunity to host what we would call in the States regular-season league games for any of the big European leagues at MetLife, as well,” Murphy said.

So far, FIFA has awarded the 2026 tournament to the US, Mexico, and Canada, as well as announced the 16 host cities in 2022. Governor Murphy is hopeful in the stadium’s efforts and plans to be able to host the final.

“I think we’ll do the right thing by the VIPs who need to get transited. We’ll do it in a way which doesn’t take it out of the hide of the regular customers, but we’ll also do it in a way – we’re committed that to Fifa, that we’ll move folks expeditiously and with the right level of care,”  Murphy said.