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World Cup coming to Kansas City, economic boost coming to Missouri

Kansas City, Mo. — Out of a field of cities that included places like Seattle, Miami, Mexico City and Vancouver — Kansas City was chosen as a host city for the 2026 World Cup.

Kansas City represents the Central region as a host city, sharing the distinction with Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey, Mexico and Mexico City. A total of 16 cities were chosen across three regions.

The Paris of the Plains was chosen out of a field of 22 cities from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA judged cities based on their sports venues and ancillary events/venues as well as “key aspects such as sustainability, human rights, legacy, general infrastructure and financial impact.”

The world’s game coming to Kansas City means a significant financial boost. The 2026 World Cup is expected to generate $695 million of economic activity in Missouri, according to a press release from Sen. John Rizzo, D-Jackson County.

“I mean. people are going to be staying in hotels as far out as Columbia, this is going to boost the entire Western side of the state,” Rizzo said on a phone call Thursday. “This will provide a huge economic impact for Kansas City — and a big economic impact to Missouri.”

Rizzo filed and passed Senate Bill (SB) 652 during spring session, a bill that provided a sales tax exemption to the sale of World Cup tickets to games held in Jackson County. The bill passed with no amendments, a rarity during what became a highly contentious legislative session.

“It’s nice to have something we can all rally around,” Rizzo said. “This is the up-lifting thing we need.”

The World Cup will have a huge impact on Kansas City’s recovering hospitality industry, an industry the city heavily invested in before the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast swaths of visitors coming to the area in 2026 look like a sure-fire way to revitalize the industry.

Rizzo is especially excited about the long-term impacts the World Cup could have for Jackson County and Missouri as a whole. World-wide exposure for Kansas City along with hundreds of millions of dollars in unplanned revenue could give the area a lot of financial flexibility in the future.

“You really can’t put an economic number to putting KC on a world stage … that’s the best advertisement for tourism,” Rizzo said. “We don’t plan on World Cups, World Series or Super Bowls — but when they happen they’re just huge economic bonuses … we’re talking about hundreds of million dollars that will flow back into Missouri.”

Rizzo’s bill will make it easier for visitors and Missourians alike to attend the iconic sporting event, he expects Kansas City residents to show up in force.

“This is becoming more and more of a soccer town,” Rizzo said. “This little town is growing up.”

Kansas City’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) soccer team announced plans in 2021 to build a stadium built specifically for NWSL games. The stadium will be the first stadium in America built specifically for women’s soccer.

Sen. Rizzo’s father, Rep. Henry Rizzo — who was elected to the House in 1985 and served 18 years — passed legislation to help Kansas City build its Power and Light district, a main tourism attraction for the city that will be duly shown off during the World Cup.

“This is like a book-end from my dad,” Rizzo said. “For him to build the Power and Light district — and now we’re going to host a World Cup.”

Featured Image: @KC2026WorldCup