KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is asking lawmakers to consider $10 million in funding for improving infrastructure at Children’s Mercy Park ahead of the 2026 World Cup.
The funds would be used to improve Sporting Kansas City’s facility and the surrounding area, including sound and lighting work and the construction of an entertainment facility outside of the stadium.
Adam Proffitt, the state’s budget director, said the $10 million would help bring Children’s Mercy Park in line with comparable professional soccer venues and allow the facility to host more international matches before the World Cup.
Kelly’s budget item notes the improvements would allow for future economic activity in the area after the 2026 World Cup is over.
State Rep. Ken Rahjes (R-Agra) questioned why the governor would want to spend millions on the soccer facility when the state has other funding needs.
“Why is this needed so bad?” Rahjes said.
World Cup games will be played at Arrowhead Stadium on the other side of the state line, but teams could practice at Children’s Mercy Park or the Compass Minerals National Performance Center, where Sporting KC practices.
It’s not just Children’s Mercy Park that could see upgrades. Improvements will have to be made at Arrowhead Stadium where remodeling could start as soon as this year.
In 2018, an estimated 3 million tourists visited host cities in Russia, and in 2022, 1.4 million tourists visited Qatar for the World Cup.
According to one study, host cities can expect up to $620 million in incremental economic activity.