Infrastructure preparations underway in Arlington for FIFA World Cup and MLB All-Star Game








Arlington prepares infrastructure for FIFA World Cup, MLB All-Star Game

Guests eat and talk while watching college football at Texas Live on Oct. 14 in the Entertainment District. The district also houses Choctaw Stadium and Globe Life Field.



Arlington is preparing its Entertainment District to host the 2024 Major League All-Star Game and the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with officials approving over $17.5 million to fund improvements last week.

The city met recently with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to discuss the costs and needed improvements, including road renovations as well as safety and transit expansion. The Entertainment District covers the area of the city that has Globe Life Field, Texas Live and AT&T Stadium, one of the stadiums expected to host the World Cup.

“With so many upcoming events, we think there’s a lot of synergy and opportunities for this body to coordinate and to basically prepare some infrastructure now that will help us be ready for that,” said Karla Windsor, NCTCOG senior program manager of sustainable development, at the meeting.

The $17.5 million will be split into three categories, with $8 million going to streets and safety projects, like improved sidewalks and crossings. Another $6 million will go to traffic operation improvements, such as software improvements and traffic signal improvements.

The other $3 million is for transit projects, like renovating Arlington’s Trinity Railway Express station, which would handle the bulk of traffic entering the city, Windsor said.

The NCTCOG already had the needed $17.5 million in federal dollars, but these funds take time to clear and implement, she said.

Because the projects need a quick turnaround, one faster than the federal funds would allow, Arlington and the NCTCOG have agreed to “swap” the $17.5 million to avoid delaying the Entertainment District improvements. The city had the money at its disposal in the form of local funds that were previously allocated to maintenance improvements along Randol Mill Road.







Arlington prepares infrastructure for FIFA World Cup, MLB All-Star Game



NCTCOG can now use these local funds from Arlington, giving the city its $17.5 million in federal funds in exchange. In time, Arlington can use the money to resume improving Randol Mill Road.

The agreement was the “only way” to get mobile funds for the improvements fast enough to meet the baseball All-Star game, said Michael Morris, director of transportation for NCTCoG’s transportation department, at the meeting.

The delay in improving Randol Mill Road comes with an additional price tag of $3.8 million in temporary asphalt overlay and sidewalk modifications, as the street needs work to hold traffic before the World Cup. Regional Toll Revenue funds will cover these interim costs.

Windsor said city, sports and venue officials have kept a “phased approach” to prepare for the events. Officials started phase one in January, phase two prepares the area for next year’s MLB All-Star Game in July 2024, and phase three prepares for the World Cup two years later.

As part of the initiative, NCTCoG has requested federal aid from Washington D.C., specifically asking for 50 energy-efficient buses that after the World Cup would go to Los Angeles for the 2028 olympics, Windsor said.

Phase four looks beyond 2026 at long-term improvements with more turnaround time.

“Once you’ve made these particular improvements for this purpose, these improvements will be used every single day for all the other events and all the other regular people that are living and working in our region,” Morris said.

Arlington’s Globe Life Field was announced as the host of the 2024 All-Star Game last November. Seattle’s T-Mobile Park hosted the game in 2023, filling 47,159 seats of the stadium’s 47,943 capacity.

Globe Life Field has about 40,300 seats, though the Texas Rangers this year have seen an average attendance of just over 31,000, according to baseball-reference.com.







Arlington prepares infrastructure for FIFA World Cup, MLB All-Star Game

AT&T Stadium pictured on Oct. 14, 2021, in Arlington.



Arlington is one of 16 cities hosting the 2026 World Cup, which will take place across Mexico, the United States and Canada and pit 48 teams against each other. The soccer tournament happens every four years and is often considered the world’s largest sporting event with over 5 billion people estimated to have engaged with the event in 2022, according to FIFA.

Qatar hosted last year’s World Cup, bringing in over one million international visitors. During the busiest stage of the tournament, the region’s main metro and tram networks notched up 9.19 million trips, with a daily average of 707,032 passengers.

The country had invested at least $220 billion into infrastructure to host the event, according to Forbes.

“One World Cup game is like four Super Bowls,” Morris said. “We may get eight games, that might be equal to 24 Super Bowls economy-wise. I wouldn’t want to be asleep at the switch not getting out in front three [or] four years early to be prepared for these.”

Editor-in-chief Mandy Huyhn contributed to this article

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