Jun 16, 2022

Kansas City selected as a host city for 2026 FIFA World Cup

Posted Jun 16, 2022 10:00 PM
Image courtesy FIFA live broadcast of host cities
Image courtesy FIFA live broadcast of host cities

NEW YORK (AP) —On Thursday afternoon, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) selected Kansas City as a 2026 World Cup host city.

Kansas City joins Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia and Seattle as the newcomers among the 11 U.S. sites picked to host games at the 2026 World Cup, while Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida, were left out.

Arlington, Texas; East Rutherford, New Jersey; Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Inglewood and Santa Clara, California, were the holdovers.

FIFA announced its selections Thursday for the first World Cup with three co-hosts, also picking three Mexican cities and two in Canada.

The U.S. selections included none of the nine stadiums used at the 1994 World Cup. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and Orlando’s Camping World Stadium were the only ones remaining in contention, and they were among the sites dropped in the final round.

New stadiums were selected in five areas used in 1994. AT&T Stadium in Texas replaced Dallas’ Cotton Bowl; SoFi Stadium in Inglewood took over for Pasadena’s Rose Bowl; and Levi’s Stadium instead of Stanford Stadium.

Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Masschusetts, replaced torn-down stadiums that were adjacent, Giants Stadium and Foxboro Stadium.

Orlando’s Camping World was dropped among existing 1994 venues. The Detroit area, where the old Pontiac Silverdome hosted games, was cut in 2018 and Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium was dropped after FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, dropped out. Washington’s RFK Stadium was used in 1994.

Chicago, which hosted the 1994 opener at Solider Field, refused to bid, citing FIFA’s economic demands.

Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, which hosted the 1970 and ’86 finals and will become the first stadium in three World Cups, was selected along with Guadalajara’s Estadio Akron and Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA.

Toronto’s BMO Field and Vancouver, British Columbia’s B.C. Place were picked while Edmonton, Alberta’s Commonwealth Stadium was dropped.

The bid plan envisioned 60 games in the U.S., including all from the quarterfinals on, and 10 each in Mexico and Canada.

Specific sites for each round will be announced later.

In contrast to the 1992 site announcement during a news conference, the 2026 announcement was made during a televised show from Fox’s studio in Manhattan.

“Over the past five years, the greater Kansas City area has pulled together in remarkable ways to demonstrate to those around the globe that ‘We Want The World Cup.’ And that hard work has paid off,” said Sen. Jerry Moran. 

“I look forward to welcoming soccer fans from around the world to the Soccer Capital of America when Kansas City hosts the 2026 World Cup. Thank you to the KC2026 leadership team, the Kansas City Sports Commission, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, and all the ambassadors and volunteers for your work to bring for the most-watched sporting event in the world to Kansas City.”

In 2017, at the start of the bid 2026 World Cup bid process, Sen. Moran offered his support for Kansas City to the Executive Director of the United Bid Committee.

“Today is a great day for Kansas City! Kansas is home to some of the most devoted, fanatic soccer fans in the world that are ready to cheer on Team USA – and what better place than America’s heartland? The Kansas City community, alongside Sporting KC and the KC Sports Commission have shown unwavering commitment to make this dream a reality, and I congratulate them for their hard work,” said Senator Roger Marshall. “The FIFA World Cup is the largest and most prestigious single sport event in the world and there is no better place for it to be held than Kansas City.”