Kansas City bidding to host World Rugby Cup matches in 2031, 2033

Rugby America's Aspiration
Posted at 9:19 AM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 10:35:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is one of 25 U.S. cities bidding for the chance to host matches for the 2031 Men’s Rugby World Cup and 2033 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The World Rugby Council announced Thursday that the U.S. has been selected to host the tournaments, marking the first time the events will be conducted in North or South America.

“World Rugby’s decision to name the United States the host nation of the 2031 and 2033 Rugby World Cups is a testament to the strength of our bid — including the incredible cities and stadiums ready to host, the commitment of the dedicated USA Rugby community, the passion exhibited by rugby fans around the country and the United States’ unparalleled ability to put on world-class sporting events,” USA Rugby World Cup Bid Chair Jim Brown said in a statement.

The World Rugby Council and USA Rugby plan to “work together to grow the sport in the United States over the next decade in preparation for hosting rugby’s pinnacle event on U.S. soil.”

That includes plans to bolster rugby participation at the youth level.

“I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust in and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country,” USA Rugby CEO Ross Young said in a statement. “USA Rugby will now venture into a new era and ensure the sport’s most treasured event is a springboard for creating lasting, sustainable enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast.”

The games are expected to take place in NFL and MLS stadiums with an estimated 4.1 million fans expected to attend the events.

The Kansas City Sports Commission said Thursday matches would be played at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium — if Kansas City is selected as a host city.

Kansas City is home to a robust niche rugby scene, which includes the Kansas City Rugby Football Club and Kansas City Blues Rugby Club.

City Rugby, which plays its home games at City Park in Kansas City, Kansas, was founded in 1964.

The Blues — who were founded in 1966 and host home matches at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri — play in USA Division 1 rugby, the highest level for amateur competition in the spot in the U.S., operate a Division 2 team and have four top-10 finishes in the USA Rugby Sevens National Championship Series since 2014, including a runner-up finish in 2016 and third-place finish in 2014. Home games are
“Today is a historic moment for the game of rugby,” Young said. “However, the real journey begins now and it is one we are excited and prepared to embark on.”

According to a news release, the other U.S. cities expected to bid for the right to host are Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Birmingham, Alabama; Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Glendale, Arizona; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans; New York/New Jersey; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle and Washington, D.C.