KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Soccer fans all across the metro are crossing their fingers as Kansas City remains on a prestigious short list to host some World Cup games in 2026.
And some civic boosters involved with the city’s bid application say the economic impact of hosting the World Cup could top half a billion dollars.
“World Cup will transform our city there’s no doubt,” said Kathy Nelson, the president of the Kansas City Sports Commission. Nelson is also on the executive committee crafting the city’s World Cup bid application.
“Truly, a World Cup would be like hosting four, five or six Super Bowls in one month in Kansas City,” she said.
Kansas City is one of 17 American cities on the list of contenders to host the World Cup in 2026. The competition is stiff: Cities like Boston, Dallas, and Los Angeles are also on the list of 17 finalists.
But Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes believes Kansas City has a good shot at securing a spot as a host city.
“It would be wrong for it not to be here,” Vermes said. “The facilities, the groundswell of support for the game — we have everything.”
Kansas City’s application received positive marks for the new KCI airport, ample hotel space and a central location in the Midwest. Mass transit, however, to shuttle soccer fans from hotels to Arrowhead Stadium is an area that needs improvement.
But Nelson points out, even those challenges could create new opportunities for the region.
“There will be improvements made,” she said. “Whether that’s transportation improvement, busing improvement, road improvements. There are things that will happen that are tangible ‘leave-behinds.'”
The KC World Cup Bid Committee will submit its final bid application by June 2020. FIFA is expected to pick the 10 American cities by the end of 2020.