“Our team effort to bring the 2026 World Cup to Kansas City has culminated in today’s success as we prepare to be one of few American cities selected to host the largest sporting event in the world,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “The World Cup will bring jobs to our residents, will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our region, and will illustrate on a global stage what we’ve known for some time: Kansas City is the soccer capital of America. I can’t wait to welcome the world to Kansas City.”
“To be named a host city for not only the biggest single sport event in history, but as part of the most competitive selection process FIFA has ever facilitated is an incredible accomplishment for our city, our bid committee and everyone involved,” says Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC. “This is an important milestone in our work to make Kansas City an international destination for sports tourism and I could not be more proud.”
Held every four years, the FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious and most widely viewed single sporting event. In 2018, a combined 3.572 billion viewers watched the World Cup and an estimated 6.8 million tourists visited host cities. The FIFA World Cup 2026, which will feature a record 80 matches, will be the first hosted by three countries and the first with 48 participating nations. Host cities can expect up to $620 million in incremental economic activity as a result of World Cup matches according to a study.
Kansas City’s bid – co-chaired by Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt and Sporting Kansas City principal owner Cliff Illig – was led by KC2026 Bid Director Katherine Holland with the support of an Executive Committee comprised of a powerhouse group of sports executives, government officials and civic representatives from across the region. Together, the bi-state effort delivered a strategic vision for securing the largest event in Kansas City history in collaboration with many key stakeholders, including proposed training sites, hotel partners and Fan Fest locations.
An inclusive sports city with an unparalleled passion for soccer, Kansas City has earned recognition as the Soccer Capital of America with a growing collection of world-class venues, championship-winning teams and a rich history of hosting international competitions. The Kansas City region has invested more than $600 million in soccer facilities in the last 15 years – with the KC Current set to open a new training ground next week and a downtown stadium in 2024 – and the KC2026 bid received endorsements from nine youth soccer state associations throughout the Midwest.
Kansas City, proudly known as the Heart of America, is the nation’s most centrally located major metropolitan area with 55 million people within a day’s drive and both coasts within a three-hour flight. The new $1.5 billion state-of-the-art single terminal at KCI Airport will open next year ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft being held in Kansas City.
In addition, the KC Streetcar extension is scheduled to be completed by 2025 to provide enhanced access to many of the city’s top cultural attractions including the National World War I Museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Country Club Plaza. Kansas City has become a national leader in public transportation as the first major American city to offer fare-free public transit.
The bid process, which began in 2017 with 44 total candidate cities, culminated today with a celebration at KC Live! in the Kansas City Power & Light District. A delegation representing Kansas City’s local organizing committee will travel to New York this weekend to participate in host city workshops as preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2026 enter the highly anticipated next phase of planning.