USA win Rugby World Cup bid; ‘smart money’ is on the NY/NJ accommodation finale
When we think of international sporting excellence, we now think of the Meadowlands.
What had been rumored for a while is now official: World Rugby has awarded the Men’s and Women’s World Cups to the United States in 2031 and 2033, respectively.
And the ever-awkward New York/New Jersey mash-up is not just in the mix to host, but could host the final, according to ESPN. Which means MetLife Stadium (and NJ Transit) are now on tap for potentially two of the biggest sporting events in the world, as the stadium is the planned site of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup Final.
Sources have told ESPN that the men’s tournament is expected to remain in its existing October-November window through 2031, with the US bid for both tournaments including NFL stadiums among the 25 potential host cities: Atlanta ; Austin, TX; Baltimore; Birmingham, Alabama; Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Nashville, TN; New York/New Jersey; Orlando Florida; Philadelphia Cream; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; San Diego; San Francisco Bay Area; Seattle; washington d.c.
The destination for the finale has yet to be decided, but the smart money is said to be on New York hosting the showpiece event.
If the region only gets the final, MetLife will be the place. But if there are any first-round matches in the area, Red Bull Arena in Harrison and/or a future NYCFC stadium could be in the picture. Past World Cups have used smaller venues (think 20,000-30,000 capacity), albeit when the tournament was in smaller countries.
Getting the World Cups is a colossal feat for USA Rugby. The sport – which takes the best things about soccer and football and brings them together into one – should be much bigger in America than it is. Hosting tournaments should give rugby the much-needed exposure boom. The women are already one of the best teams in the world – currently ranked No.7 by World Rugby – but the 18th-ranked men have work to do.
But please, NJ Transit. Don’t screw this up. You’ve had years of notice. Hopefully the presence of football and/or rugby hooligans will inspire everyone to avoid another Super Bowl or WrestleMania level meltdown.