Seattle CEO Peter Tomozawa has announced that preparations are being made to lay down a grass surface at Lumen Field for the 2026 World Cup. Although the stadium’s field replacement activity won’t start until 2025, the grass will be laid down in early spring of 2026. This change is a departure from Lumen Field’s previous use of an artificial surface since its opening in 2002, as the home for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, Seattle Sounders of the MLS, and Seattle Reign of the NWSL.
The decision to use natural grass is significant because it brings in four group games, including a United States match, one round of 32, and one round of 16 game. The men’s World Cup has never used artificial surfaces for games while the Women’s World Cup used artificial fields during the 2015 event in Canada and received criticism from players. The final match was played on an artificial field at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
Several other stadiums, including AT&T Stadium, Mercedes Benz Stadium, MetLife Stadium, Gillette Stadium, NRG Stadium and SoFi Stadium will also have to come up with grass solutions for the 2026 event. Tomozawa stated that advanced planning back when the stadium was constructed should help in the process of putting down the grass in 2026. He mentioned that Lumen Field already has plumbing and infrastructure built-in because it was constructed for the World Cup.