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Why the World Cup big stage - literally - will be 15 feet high at AT&T Stadium

AT&T Stadium is one of the larger stadiums in the U.S. But apparently, its playing surface isn't big enough for FIFA, soccer's governing body that runs the World Cup

ARLINGTON, Texas — When the World Cup comes to Dallas in 2026 -- sorry, we mean Arlington -- AT&T Stadium will feature soccer's biggest stage.

Literally.

AT&T Stadium is one of the larger stadiums in the U.S. But apparently, its playing surface isn't big enough for FIFA, soccer's governing body that runs the World Cup.

As a result, the field level will have to be raised 15 feet to accommodate a wider playing surface. 

Here's a look at how high the playing surface will be, in relation to the normal level:

Credit: Dallas World Cup 2026
A look at how high the field will be raised at AT&T Stadium for the World Cup.

AT&T Stadium has been a regular host for soccer matches through the years, but nothing on the scale of the World Cup, thus the expanded playing surface required by FIFA.

FIFA field regulations call for about 105 meters long and 68 meters across. That's about 75 yards across; for comparison, a football field is 50 yards across, so any extra room needed for a FIFA regulation field would make a tight squeeze, with sidelines included.

The raised, wider field will also cut into some of the lower bowl seating at the stadium. But with more than 90,000 seats in the building, there should be plenty to go around.

There's still no word on whether the AT&T Stadium games will be played on a grass surface, as opposed to the stadium's usual synthetic playing field. It almost certainly will be grass -- all World Cup games have been played on grass and previous soccer games at AT&T have been played on grass over synthetic, or a mixture of the two.

One other nugget about AT&T Stadium and the World Cup: It will be the rare time a World Cup game has been played inside a domed stadium.

Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium also got a World Cup location for 2026. In 1994, the Pontiac Silverdome near Detroit hosted the first domed stadium. The retractable-roofed Commerzbank-Arena in Germany, now known as Deutsche Bank Park, hosted games during the 2006 World Cup, along with the Veltins Arena.

RELATED: Dallas will be a host city for the biggest World Cup in history! Here's what you need to know.

RELATED: World Cup 2022: Here are the Texas ties to the USMNT

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