KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For five years, the mantra around Kansas City has been “We Want the World Cup.” Thursday digital billboards replaced the word “want” with “We Got the World Cup.”
As happy as fans were at the news the World Cup is coming to Kansas City in four years, local leaders and those who worked on the bid may have even more reason to celebrate.
“How proud are you today to be from Kansas City?” Mayor Quinton Lucas asked the hundreds of fans who gathered at KC Power & Light to watch the announcement.
After FIFA came to town, committee members said there were many late nights on the phone trying to secure the bid.
“To see it all come together now is just bizarre, but its so fascinating and fantastic,” Kathy Nelson, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC, said.
FIFA told Kansas City, the smallest of the American cities to receive a bid, one thing was clear: No one wanted it more.
“This confirms what we already know: that Kansas City is a world class sports town and a destination for the worlds biggest sporting events,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said.
“Kansas City has always supported soccer, and now we have a chance to show ourselves to the rest of the world,” Cliff Illing, Sporting KC owner, said.
The world’s biggest stage could be a chance to transform Kansas City’s image to the rest of the world. In 2018, a combined 3.572 billion viewers watched the World Cup, and an estimated 6.8 million tourists visited host cities.
According to one study, host cities can expect up to $620 million in incremental economic activity as a result. Improvements will have to be made, including at Arrowhead Stadium where remodeling is expected to start next year.
“We have a lot of work to do over the next four years, but we will be the best damn hosts in the history of the world,” Lucas exclaimed.
Although it’s still four years away, the work starts soon. A delegation of five Kansas Citians will head to New York on Sunday to meet with FIFA and start ironing out the plan.
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