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FIFA 2026 World Cup offers significant international exposure for Kansas City

Kansas City World Cup Watch Party
Posted at 9:39 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 23:18:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After years of preparing its bid, Kansas City finally learned its 2026 FIFA World Cup fate on Thursday, securing a bid to host games in the world's largest and most celebrated sporting event.

It kicked off a wild celebration at KC Live! in the Power & Light District.

KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas watched the announcement from the crowd, and reveled in a victory for his city.

"It feels great," Lucas said. "We're having a blast. Best city in the world!"

Kansas City is now a city that will be introduced on the world's soccer stage, four years from now.

"It's bigger than anybody can imagine," Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe said. "The ripple effect from people seeing us globally, what a great community we are, what a great state we are, it's almost immeasurable, the economic impact."

It's an economic opportunity without a price tag.

"We can't buy this kind of exposure for our city, the legacy this is going to leave, there's nothing that compares to this. Nothing," Kathy Nelson, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission, said.

National teams from the world over, their delegations, and their fans, will come to a city that loves the global game.

"They're going to get a perspective they've never seen before, this environment just in here was, prior to, it shows the passion of the people," said Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes.

Those passionate fans say they have a reputation to uphold here as the "soccer capital of America," but in this soccer-crazed community, fans young and old came together to witness history.

"The most important thing we've ever done together, we've celebrated a lot of championships, but this is the biggest one we've ever celebrated," Nate Orr said.

Orr's wife agreed.

"It's amazing, to have these kids to be able to see what this city is capable of doing, and the sport that has embraced girls and boys together, it's fantastic," Stephanie Orr said.

It's the next event, and the next chance for Kansas City to showcase itself to visitors and television viewers all around the world.

"The NFL Draft coming here was a big win, the World Cup is a big, big win," Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan said. "The championship games are great opportunities, and we keep getting our special place on the map."

Four years from now, the world will turn its eyes to Canada, Mexico, and the United States for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with Kansas City one of sixteen cities welcoming soccer's best to the City of Fountains.