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FIFA World Cup in Kansas City | Here's how governments are using tax dollars to prepare

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Posted at 2:00 PM, Aug 21, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After Spain won the Women’s World Cup Sunday morning, the next FIFA World Cup tournament will be in 2026 when Kansas City, Missouri, and 15 other North American cities host the event.

To prepare for what could be the largest event in Kansas City’s history, state and local governments are spending millions in tax dollars.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson committed $52 million total for the tournament. $50 million is set aside “for stadium and ground modifications, transportation, and marketing to support the FIFA event.” The other $2 million is for “the Kansas City Zoo and Starlight Theatre’s shared parking lot upgrades to support the FIFA event.”

GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium will require significant modifications to the seating bowl to accommodate a soccer field that meets World Cup specifications.

Kansas approved putting $10 million in the pot to “provide funding for infrastructure and other required improvements in advance of the World Cup games to be played in the Kansas City metropolitan area in 2026. These improvements will be made in western Wyandotte County, in the area surrounding the home of the Sporting Kansas City soccer club.”

Kansas and Missouri are both using money from their general funds to pay for their World Cup commitments. Income and sales taxes go the general fund.

Kansas City, Missouri’s council approved spending $15 million over three years for the “necessary City services including police, fire, traffic, EMS and sanitation services, and all other contractual obligations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup games that will be played in Kansas City.”

The city will use money from taxes and occupancy fees on short-term rentals as well as money from the Convention and Tourism Fund to pay for its investment.

Those three commitments total $77 million. A nonprofit organization called KC2026 will oversee spending ahead of the event.

The Kansas City Sports Commission told city council members it estimates the World Cup to generate $652 million in economic impact. Similarly, Parson’s office expects the World Cup to generate nearly $700 million for the region. Separately, the Boston Consulting Group predicts American host cities will recoup their investment and then net anywhere from $90 to $480 million in additional economic activity.

Municipalities will not make any money from sales tax on ticket prices. Missouri legislators approved exempting tickets from sales tax, a FIFA requirement.

FIFA says the 2026 World Cup will begin in June. The final game will take place July 19. Kansas City does not know yet which games it will host, nor on which days. Qualifications for the tournament have not yet taken place.