© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City set to host 6 World Cup matches in 2026. Here's what we know about the schedule

Fans gathered at the Power & Light District react to FIFA's selection of Kansas City as one of 16 North American sites for the 2026 men's World Cup matches.
Greg Echlin
KCUR 89.3
Fans gathered at the Power & Light District in June 2022 react to FIFA's selection of Kansas City as one of 16 North American sites for the 2026 men's World Cup matches.

FIFA officials announced Kansas City will host four matches in June 2026, and a knockout round and a quarterfinal in early July. Kansas City is one of 16 sites in North America to take part in hosting.

In an internationally televised broadcast, FIFA World Cup officials announced on Sunday that Kansas City will not only host one of the quarterfinal matches in 2026, but also four group-stage matches at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

The dates of those games are June 16, 20, 25 and 27.

Kansas City is one of 16 sites in North America to win World Cup matches.

“Confirmation of the match schedule for the FIFA World Cup 26™ provides critical information that will inform our planning and decision-making in the months to follow,” Katherine Holland, executive director of KC2026, said in a statement following Sunday's announcement.

The Round of 32 will be played on July 3 and the quarterfinal eight days later, on July 11.

The United States, Mexico and Canada together will host the opening match in Mexico City on June 11, officials also announced Sunday.

The championship game will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Kansas City is the smallest of the World Cup host cities, and organizers are already preparing for what the 35-day event will mean for the metro — including necessary infrastructure changes.

Speaking on KCUR's Up To Date on Monday, Holland admitted that Kansas City has less robust public transportation than the other host cities. She said organizers hope to build out a temporary transit system, but did not provide details.

"FIFA’s been very clear that they’d like a consistent experience, you know, fan experience, volunteer experience across all of the host cities and all three countries, so we need to manage against that as well and making sure that, you know, Kansas City not only rises to the occasion but also shows off in comparison to the other host cities," Holland says.

Holland said the city will also do its best to mitigate disruptions to residents.

“We’re acutely aware that, again, we cannot shutdown our city for that amount of time," Holland said. "Businesses have to be able to continue to operate. People need to be able to get to their jobs and this should just sort of be an enhancement supporting the event on top of that."

Organizers plan to spread activities out across the region, including potential “base camps” in Lawrence and Manhattan, Kansas. And that means potential business on both sides of the state line.

"This is a nonpartisan issue," says Joe Reardon, president of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and a KC2025 board member. "This is really a great benefit for both the state Kansas and Missouri. An investment now is going to pay dividends not during this tournament, as I said, but for time long after that as well."

"We're the smallest city that's going to host — and think about it in those quarterfinals, the world already knows Miami, they know LA they know these other cities — they have yet to explore and understand Kansas City. It's going to be our time to shine."

Updated: February 5, 2024 at 2:33 PM CST
This story was updated with more information on Kansas City's World Cup.
I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.