KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A brand new professional soccer field opened at Kansas City's Swope Park on Tuesday.
The $2.3 million Champion Field opened just in time for the women's Big 12 Championship games.
Sporting KC had originally bid to bring the tournament to Sporting Park in Wyandotte County, but when the professional team realized they would be in the playoffs and schedules changed, Sporting suddenly found itself hosting the tournament with no field.
"Trust us because we'll build something really special here and you'll love it," Sporting's Vice President of Development David Ficklin said he told the Big 12.
Sporting, with the oversight of the city, built the field in 160 days.
"We knew we could build something," Ficklin said. "It's magical and on time and here you have it."
The Soccer Village cost $13.5 million; the rest is set to begin in December where the youth soccer fields will be rebuilt into state-of-the-art fields.
Cindy Circo, Kansas City's Mayor Pro Tem, said the championship games are only the beginning for these fields. They'll be used by youth sport leagues, college games and semi-professionals and give kids in the urban core a place to play.
"It's about having kids involved in something and we really have an international flair in our urban core communities and this is the game that they play," Circo said.
Hours after the ribbon cutting on Tuesday afternoon, the Big 12 economic boom had begun.
Iowa State players were impressed.
"I was like ‘Holy cow! We get the opportunity to play there?'" Iowa State's Team Captain said.
University of Kansas is in the final rounds. The seven-game series is estimated to generate $1.2 million to the Kansas City economy and draw more than 2,000 people.