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Millions in taxpayer spending planned to get Kansas City ready for the World Cup in 2026

People standing on a stage wearing soccer scarves
Chris Fortune
KCUR 89.3
State and local government officials gathered on Thursday to talk about preparations for the World Cup in 2026.

Officials unveiled a new nonprofit organization to lead the charge in Kansas City’s preparation to host the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2026. Kansas and Missouri are spending money on the event, which is expected to bring fans from around the world to Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Politicians from Missouri and Kansas on Thursday touted the spending of millions of tax dollars and unveiled a new nonprofit organization to get Kansas City ready to host men’s World Cup matches in 2026.

The city was chosen as one of the host sites for the event in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The soccer tournament is the largest sporting event in the world and has been promoted as an economic boon for the region.

Kansas and Missouri plan to spend a combined $60 million — $50 million from Missouri and $10 million from Kansas — on the project for stadium and infrastructure support.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said the city plans to improve public transportation from the newly renovated Kansas City International Airport and the center of the city. Lucas said the city is issuing a request for proposals for the project but did not provide specific plans or the total financial investment in the project.

“I look forward to the excitement ahead,” Lucas said, “as we continue to make Kansas City an international destination for sports, for culture, for business.”

KC 2026, a nonprofit organization made up of sports and business leaders and government officials from both states, will lead the charge to prepare for the event.

Karen Daniel, president of the organization, said the group has much work to do in the three years before the tournament kicks off in the summer of 2026. She said all of the members of the organization are committed to capitalizing on the opportunity.

“This is a big deal,” Daniel said, “and will have a very lasting impact on our community.”

Missouri’s $50 million will go toward improving Arrowhead Stadium, where matches will be played, and marketing for the event, according to the Kansas City Star.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Kansas City has had recent successes with parades after the Kansas City Chiefs won two Super Bowls in four years and hosted the NFL draft this spring.

“Now you've got to get to a bigger stage,” Parsons said. “We’ve got to do more. And we’re going to showcase Missouri like it’s never been shown before.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said the Kansas City region will host many events and activities to supplement the matches at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas is set to provide $10 million to Sporting Kansas City — the local men’s professional soccer team that plays in Kansas City, Kansas — to improve its stadium and prepare for those events. Those kinds of activities, Kelly said, could bring in about $620 million of economic benefits from tourism.

“Hosting what is projected to be the most watched sporting event in history,” Kelly said, “will give us an opportunity to showcase the greater Kansas City community to a global audience.”

Dylan Lysen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen or email him at dlysen (at) kcur (dot) org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. 

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

As the Kansas social services and criminal justice reporter, I want to inform our audience about how the state government wants to help its residents and keep their communities safe. Sometimes that means I follow developments in the Legislature and explain how lawmakers alter laws and services of the state government. Other times, it means questioning the effectiveness of state programs and law enforcement methods. And most importantly, it includes making sure the voices of everyday Kansans are heard. You can reach me at dlysen@kcur.org, 816-235-8027 or on Threads, @DylanLysen.
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