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Kansas City won't earn tax on tickets in bid for 2026 World Cup games

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Posted at 9:45 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 12:20:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The countdown is on.

On Thursday, Kansas City, Missouri, will find out if it has been chosen as one of the cities to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup games.

Should KCMO net the honors, it would expose the city to an international audience, not to mention bringing in millions of dollars in revenue.

But, should Kansas City be chosen as a host city, one thing will be missing: the money from sales tax on tickets to watch those matches at GEHA Field Arrowhead Stadium.

"What most folks may not realize, is we had to pass a certain piece of legislation to remain on that list of potential cities that could get the FIFA World Cup here," Missouri Rep. Mark Sharp said. "What that legislation did, basically, was remove all sales tax from the sale of tickets for the tournament."

Sharp explained why FIFA set that condition.

"What FIFA has seen in the past, is that some cities will jack up the price once they’re named a city," Sharp said.

The legislation was sponsored by Missouri Sen. John Rizzo, who was able to quickly get the measure introduced and approved by both chambers.

"I appreciate the support of the entire General Assembly for supporting this huge economic opportunity for our state," Rizzo said in a press release.

Kathy Nelson, the President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and VisitKC, agrees being named a host city is still a major economic win for Kansas City, Jackson County, and the state Missouri, even without the extra sales tax from tickets.

"Well, there’s really nothing to be lost out on when you think about it," Nelson said. "You know, if you don’t have the games, if you’re not awarded the games because you don’t have this tax exemption on a ticket, then it doesn’t matter anyhow."

Nelson points to all the money that will pour into concession stands, apparel, hotels and restaurants.

So just how much money could the area see?

"There are studies out there saying that every host city could expect anywhere from $100 million up to $700 million in economic lift," Nelson said. "So, that’s nothing like we’ve ever seen before, no other event would even compare to that. When you compare to Big 12 Basketball, which is kind of our big event every year, those 4-5 days when the men’s championship is here is equal to about $20 million."

A watch party will be held at KC Live in the Power and Light District beginning at 3:30 p.m. as Kansas Citians wait to see if the city will be awarded any matches.