Kansas City prepares to be host city in next World Cup

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 9:59 PM CST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - The countdown is now on for the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2026, in which Kansas City will be one of the 16 host cities.

“If you haven’t considered Kansas City as an international destination, that’s about to change,” said Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the KC Sports Commission.

Nelson is one of many working tirelessly to get the city of fountains ready to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“When you think of it, going from 32 countries to 48 countries in 2026 across three countries, multiple cities, it will certainly be the biggest event in the history of the world,” said Nelson.

Part of the process of getting Kansas City ready involved Nelson and two others making the trip to Qatar for this year’s festivities.

“I was taken back by how many people from around the world travel to the World Cup and how the one sport of fútbol unites the world,” Nelson said.

Nelson experienced everything, from watching the matches from every perspective to going behind the scenes of the massive global tournament.

She said that helped her learn what Kansas City needs to do for 2026.

“You knew from the moment you stepped off of that plane where you were and what you were there for,” Nelson said. “I think that was something to bring back here is that, no matter what, our city needs to make sure the fans that are coming here know that the World Cup is happening here. And, how to move people around.”

Nelson said every host city, regardless of size, will face some challenges. For Kansas City, they include getting and working with possibly thousands of volunteers and improving transportation within the area.

“Their challenges in Qatar will be and are a lot different than what we will have,” Nelson said. “They built venues, stadiums from the ground up. They built hotels from the ground up. They extended their transportation system. Our challenges will be modifying the venues that are already in place.”

Nelson said those are challenges that they’ve already established plans for. She said they believe that, with a lot of hard work and all hands on deck, KCMO will be ready come 2026.