Two recent stories in The Star should make soccer fans in Kansas City a bit uneasy.
The Wizards have thrown their support behind the bid to land either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup in the United States. Specifically, Kansas City is a finalist to be a host city if FIFA gives the U.S. one of those World Cups.
But as The Star’s Kent Babb reported a week ago, Kansas City has work to do if it wants to play host to a game much smaller than the World Cup: the Super Bowl.
“There’s a lot of challenges,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said while visiting renovated Arrowhead Stadium, which would be the site of any World Cup game here.
In particular, Kansas City is lacking hotel space and restaurants, and its mass-transit system is not up to snuff.
Those are all concerns for a city hoping to land World Cup games as well.
Which brings us to story No. 2. The Star’s Brad Cooper reported that the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority is facing a “precarious funding situation.”
Those are three words that don’t sound good together.
Kansas City already lacks even a decent mass-transit system, but if there were cuts to service, it’s hard to imagine that it would make a good impression on anyone in the United States Soccer Federation or FIFA.
Now, I’m not going all Clay Chastain on anyone here, but I’ve seen first-hand what a difference an efficient and comprehensive mass-transit system can make in getting people to games at the World Cup.
The bottom line is Arrowhead is a great venue because there are a lot of seats. But the other stadiums in the running also have large capacities, so you can’t rely on a “Bigger Is Better” theory for giving KC an edge.
That’s the bad news. The good news is there is still plenty of time to make things better. Even if the United States is awarded the 2018 World Cup, the venues won’t officially be chosen until 2013. In all likelihood, the U.S. has a better shot at the 2022 Cup, which means KC probably will have until 2017 to improve the infrastructure.
It would be worth the cost and effort, because the World Cup coming to Kansas City would be the coolest thing ever to happen in this town.
What are your thoughts?