Kansas City leaders show off city’s strengths during FIFA’s 2026 World Cup visit

Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hosting the 2026 World Cup is a real possibility for Kansas City. FIFA representatives visited Thursday to see what the city has to offer.

“It’s great to be in a place that I’ve only seen on TV, packed with people,” said Victor Montagliani, with the FIFA World Cup Selection Committee.

Montagliani finally gets to see the seeing Kansas City’s Power & Light District in person after the city was heavily featured during coverage of the Women’s World Cup in 2019.

He and the FIFA team were in Kansas City for a site visit as they consider Kansas City hosting several 2026 World Cup matches.

The FIFA committee will make stops in each of the 17 U.S. cities with bids to host, but only 11 locations will be chosen.

“I feel good about our chances,” KC 2026 World Cup Bid Director Kathrine Fox said.

Years of planning have gone into this bid day, which wasn’t free of a few interferences.

“The smell of BBQ is a little distracting,” one FIFA representative said.

Here’s what FIFA officials are looking for when deciding host cities: transportation, accommodation, media facilities, commercial and financial aspects and the stadium.

If selected, Arrowhead Stadium will host the games.

“Give fans from around the globe the chance to cheer on their teams in the loudest stadium in the world,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said.

Kansas City is one of the smaller markets in the running compared to larger cities like New York and Los Angeles.

“The beauty of futbol, it’s not about your size; it’s about the size of your heart,” Montagliani said.

Among the who’s who of Kansas City sports, Montagliani encourages Kansas City to “be who you are.”

“We have passion, we have experience and we have regionality,” KC Sports Commission President and CEO Kathy Nelson said.

One challenge Kansas City faces could be transportation, according to Nelson.

“When you think about this, inviting 10,000 people from another country who don’t speak English, we need to get them from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the venue,” Nelson said. “So we presented a plan; we just need to strengthen that plan now.“

Becoming a host city could also mean major financial gain.

Fox said a host city could expect to generate up to $620 million in incremental economic revenue.

“We might be a small market, but that also makes us more nimble,” Fox said. “There are a lot of bigger markets that are potential host cities maybe have a lot more red tape than we have to work through, but we’ve got support from the state level down, across both sides of the state line.”

Soccer fans will tell you, experiencing a World Cup leaves a legacy on the heart and what better place than the heartland of America.

“We are excited to show off Kansas City, and we look forward to welcoming you in 2026,” Hunt said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest

More News

Digital First

More digital first