Work already underway at MetLife Stadium ahead of 2026 World Cup

Work Already Underway at MetLife Stadium Ahead of 2026 World Cup

BY: Brett McCormick

February 26, 2024

Work is underway at MetLife Stadium to get the 82,500-seat stadium ready for 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup hosting, including the tournament’s final.

The work will take place in two phases running from January to mid-May in 2024 and 2025 and focuses on removing permanent seating in the stadium’s lower bowl corners, as well as installing necessary infrastructure to support a natural grass playing surface specifically for the tournament.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority oversees the stadium, including this World Cup-related renovation project that will make just shy of 2,000 seats removable. The Authority received $30m in public funding to plan a World Cup renovation project in 2022, though the project’s price tag hasn’t been fully detailed yet. Design firm EwingCole and contractor Skanska, which partnered to deliver the stadium in 2010, are again teaming up to ready the venue for the World Cup.

FIFA requirements include a playing field larger field than an NFL one, plus five meters of runoff space around the entirety of the field. EwingCole was retained in the fall of 2020 to begin planning the alterations that would be needed for World Cup-hosting in a stadium specifically built with NFL sightlines in mind.

“It’s no easy task. The whole seating bowl is made of pre-cast concrete and steel,” said EwingCole Managing Principal Craig Schmitt, who also worked on MetLife’s initial design. “The Jets and Giants didn’t want to lose any of those seats permanently because those are season ticket holders.”