World Cup renovations at MetLife Stadium



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Work for WC 2026 underway at MetLife stadium Image: Metlife Stadium, Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0

Major renovations have kicked off at MetLife Stadium in New York to get it ready for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Njbiz said global construction and development firm Skanska is overseeing the project, which began last month.

The aim of the work is to increase the size of the playing field to bring it up to FIFA requirements, enabling the stadium to host eight games throughout the tournament, including the prestigious Final. As a result, work is taking place on the lower bowl of the stadium.

The 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium is an open-air multipurpose stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, 5 miles (8 km) West of New York City.

Opened in 2010 to replace the now-closed 82,500-capacity Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, it serves as the home for the New York Giants and New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL).

Since the upgrade work commenced at MetLife, the historic announcement came that the stadium would host the prestigious World Cup 26 Final as well as eight total matches.

The extensive project scope of renovations 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 FIFA World Cup 26 matches, and the replacement of those seats on the modular system which will maintain current NFL seating quantities and layouts.

To prioritize existing stadium activity and team schedules, construction will be completed in two phases. Phase I commenced this past January and is projected for completion in May 2024. Phase II will begin in January 2025 and is projected to reach completion in May 2025.

Sean Szatkowski, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Skanska USA Building, said,
“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.

“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 honor of helping prepare the stadium to host the FIFA World Cup Final.”

Skanska completed the 2.2-million-square-foot MetLife Stadium in 2010, which involved the construction of a technologically advanced open-air stadium with seats for 82,500 spectators, including 222 luxury suite boxes.

It was the first facility built specifically to accommodate two NFL teams. The stadium is also used for concerts and other entertainment and sports activities.
 
The 2026 World Cup final will join a long list of showpiece events that have been hosted at the MetLife Stadium:

  • Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014, won by the NFL team Seattle Seahawks over their peer team the Denver Broncos;
  • International friendly in June 2012 in which Argentina beat Brazil 4-3 and Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick;
  • Copa América Centenario (an international men’s soccer tournament that was hosted by the United States in 2016. The competition was a celebration of the centenary of the South American Football Confederation [CONMEBOL and the Copa América) final in June 2016 in which Chile defeated Argentina on penalties after a goalless draw, leading Messi to announce his retirement from the national team; and
  • Concerts headlined by acts including U2 (Irish rock band), Bruce Springsteen (American singer-songwriter and guitarist), The Rolling Stones (English rock band), Taylor Swift, and others.

 
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