Design & Development

Work begins at MetLife Stadium for 2026 World Cup

Featured image credit: Skanska

Work has begun to ready MetLife Stadium, home of NFL franchises the New York Giants and Jets, for its role as the centrepiece of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

After FIFA announced the 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada back in June 2022, MetLife Stadium this month saw off competition from AT&T Stadium to land hosting rights for the final.

In January, MetLife Stadium officials said they would be prepared to downsize the venue in order to meet regulations for the World Cup and strengthen their chances of securing a prime package of games, including the final.

All 11 US stadia for the World Cup are homes to NFL teams, which use playing fields of 53.3-by-120 yards. By contrast, world football’s governing body specifies that a 75-by-115 yard field is required for World Cup games.

In preparation for the World Cup, Swedish construction company Skanska, which completed the delivery of the 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium in 2010, has now commenced work on a project to renovate the lower bowl.

The stadium and seating modifications will enlarge the playing field to meet the necessary FIFA size requirements, enabling the stadium to host eight games throughout the tournament, including the prestigious final.

The extensive project scope includes the demolition of four corners of existing precast seating throughout the stadium and the installation of a new modular steel composite seating system with related comprehensive mechanical, electrical, audio visual, and plumbing adjustments.

Additionally, the project includes the removal of 1,740 permanent seats to expand the field’s dimensions for World Cup matches, and the replacement of those seats on the modular system which will maintain current NFL seating quantities and layouts.

To prioritise existing stadium activity and team schedules, construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one commenced last month and is projected for completion in May. Phase two will begin in January 2025 and is projected to reach completion in May 2025.

“We are thrilled to continue building upon our long-standing partnership with MetLife Stadium and to play an integral role in ensuring the stadium is well-equipped to host the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said Sean Szatkowski, executive vice-president and general manager of Skanska USA Building.

“Having begun our initial work at MetLife Stadium in 2010, this latest undertaking poses the unique and exciting challenge of making the necessary adjustments needed to meet FIFA requirements. And we now know, this will include the honour of helping prepare the stadium to host the FIFA World Cup final.”