KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City and sports leaders rejoiced Wednesday after learning that FIFA chose North America to host the World Cup in 2026.
“I think that we feel very bullish about the opportunity for us to host this in Kansas City,” said Jake Reid, President and CEO of Sporting Kansas City.
Kansas City is one of 17 U.S. cities vying for a spot in FIFA’s final list on where matches will be played.
“When you think about where Kansas City was eight years ago and where it is now think about where Kansas City is today and where it will be in eight years,” Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri said.
By 2026, KCI will have a new look. Flights will land at the new terminal by the end of 2021 and those visitors will have more places to stay at.
“At a very conservative estimate, if we continue on this trend and pace we will have 40,000 rooms within our inventory by 2026,” Traci Moon, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications said.
Construction of the new 20-story convention hotel downtown is well underway. When it opens in April of 2020, it will have 800 rooms.
“Lord knows that after fighting six years for a hotel now we have more hotels coming up out of the ground than we can shake a stick at,” James said.
If Arrowhead Stadium is chosen to host some of the 48 teams set to compete in the World Cup, renovations will happen.
“In 2026 we’re going to have some preparation discussions with our season ticket members who are in those seats who may be affected by it,” said Mark Donovan, president of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But ultimately, leaders think Kansas City is among the right spots.
“This is our time; Kansas City has come into its own and we are well poised to win this competitive opportunity for our city,” Moon said.
FIFA will announce which cities made the final cut in 2020.