NY doesn't need the World Cup to win big


I’m as thrilled as the next guy that the FIFA World Cup final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford in 2026.

What a coup for the newly-coined Host Region of New York, New Jersey!

But I’m perplexed by Mayor Eric Adams’ claim that the “world’s biggest sporting event” will bring our city $2 billion in revenue based on a predicted 1 million tourists.

“It’s a huge win for us,” Adams boasted.

His enthusiasm for the chump-change this supposed bonanza likely means raises the question: What do such ecstatic, OMG claims made by every mayor about every public spectacle that comes to town — or close to it — say about how much confidence they really have in the Big Apple?

Giant’s Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ will host a handful of matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Big riches are promised, whether they’ll deliver is another matter entirely. AFP via Getty Images

They believe the economy of the “greatest city in the world” is as fragile as a midwest Dust Bowl hamlet that requires traveling carnivals to keep it afloat.

Even if the carnival in question lies seven miles west of the Hudson River.

Consider that the gross domestic product of the five boroughs in 2022 was $1.5 trillion.

A paltry billion or two from a big event like the World Cup matters to the municipal treasury as much as loose change on the sidewalk would to Michael Bloomberg.

That is, if that billion or two even exists.

Is Adams’ World Cup head count accurate — or even possible?

The Met Life stadium is supposed to lure 1 million soccer fans in 2026. But where will they all sit? NHLI via Getty Images

MetLife Stadium holds a mere 82,500 spectators.

Even if he meant to say the $2 billion would flow from all eight FIFA games to be held at MetLife, they’d accommodate a total of 660,000 — still 340,000 short of a million.

At least some (if not most) of the overflow will stay put in East Rutherford, where Expedia says there are “opportunities for fun almost everywhere you look,” and give our own overworked hotels and restaurants a breather in the always-busy month of June.

The hype over the Cup’s cash frenzy is the same that attends every large-scale spectacle.

Although no claim has yet been made on behalf of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, extravagant “economic impact” estimates abound for the New Year’s Eve Times Square celebration, July 4th fireworks, the US Open, New York City Marathon, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York Fashion Week, and the St. Patrick’s Day and Puerto Rican Day parades.

A Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Met Museum in 2003 delivered far less of a return than initially promised. Getty Images

But as any starting business journalist learns on day one, “estimate” is the magic word to camouflage being wrong.

How much does the Marathon pull in for hotels, stores and restaurants? 

An “estimated” $427 million, according to the New York Road Runners, which cited a 2021 report by Audience Research and Analysis.

In my Upper East Side neighborhood, it means a whopping blow to stores and restaurants that no one can reach due to street closings.

Where’s the proof that Fashion Week — essentially a trade show that lends itself to some fancy pap-shot — pumps $900 million into the Big Apple economy each year, as one of Adams’ predecessors, Mike Bloomberg, repeatedly stated?

New York politicians are much like the characters in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and her Sisters” in that they only seem to see doom.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art asserted that a 2003 Leonardo da Vinci exhibition would yield a “$220 million economic impact on New York City and New York State.”

But a closer read revealed that only $121 million was spent “by those who indicated that Leonardo was an important factor in bringing them to New York,” as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The impulse to overstate and over-celebrate the cash spree from every parade, festival or holiday event is a depressing indicator of how New York’s “leaders” actually regard the town’s fortunes.

Everyone is excited about the FIFA news, they’re just not so excited about the games being played in New Jersey, rather than New York.

Their collective insecurity belies the “If you can make it here” propaganda. 

Like Woody Allen’s brain-tumor obsessed hypochondriac in “Hannah and Her Sisters,” they foresee only imminent doom.

New York City is forever faced with draconian, life-altering service cutbacks due to a “budget crisis” — until it isn’t. 

After months of sky-is-falling coverage, Adams recently restored threatened funding to the NYPD, NYFD and for schools and sanitation.

Through much of the 1970s-1990s, the received wisdom (conveyed in the New York Times, Crain’s and other influential organs) was that corporations, even NBC, would soon flee to New Jersey — except that they didn’t.

Today of course it’s Miami that will turn out our lights.

But don’t worry, folks! The carnival will save us, even if you need a ticket on New Jersey Transit to get there.

scuozzo@nypost.com



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