If the United States is awarded a portion of the 2026 World Cup, Kansas City wants to be a part of it.
Kansas City is listed as one of 34 potential United States hosting cities for the World Cup, should it be awarded to North America.
The United States, Canada and Mexico have put in a unified bid to host the 2026 World Cup. If North America wins that bid — and it should learn that fate in the summer of 2018 — and Kansas City is also selected as a host location, the matches would be played at Arrowhead Stadium, which has a capacity of 76,000.
Sporting Kansas City president Jake Reid told The Star that his club would be “heavily involved” in the bidding process.
“You’ll see cooperation between us, the Chiefs, Kansas, Missouri and a lot of other parties,” Reid said. “I think we’re well-positioned as a city.
“With our national reputation with U.S. Soccer, MLS and soccer enthusiasts, Kansas City certainly has put a good stake in the ground. I think we like our chances as much as anyone. There’s no such thing as a slam dunk. But we’re in the game.”
A total of 49 stadiums in 44 North American cities are included on the initial list of possibilities, including 37 venues across 34 U.S. cities. The United Bid Committee will trim that list later this fall. The committee plans to include 20 to 25 venues in its final bid to FIFA, per its press release.
If North America is awarded the 2026 tournament — and with a unified bid of three countries, it’s considered the leader —at least 12 cities across the continent would likely host World Cup matches.
“The host cities included in our bid will be critical to its success — not only because of their facilities and ability to stage major events, but because they are committed to further developing the sport of soccer by harnessing the impact of hosting a FIFA World Cup — and looking beyond the game itself to make a positive contribution to our communities and the world,” United Bid Committee executive director John Kristick said in a statement.
The cities are required to show its stadium is capable of hosting international soccer matches and also prove they have “top international-level training sites and locations for team base camps.”
The National Training and Development Coaching Center is projected to be completed later this year in Kansas City, Kan., which could benefit the city’s chances.
In 2010, Kansas City submitted a bid to serve as a host site when the United States was in the mix to house the 2018 World Cup.
“We completed a study that showed it would bring over half a billion dollars in economic impact for Kansas City,” Reid said. “I think it’s on stage with having a Super Bowl.”