Kansas City will take center stage during the first World Cup to take place on American soil in 32 years.
The event, which is the first to be spread across three countries (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico), will also feature 48 teams, up from the current number of 32.
FIFA’s city selection show Thursday announced Kansas City among 16 sites that will host matches during the 2026 World Cup.
Sporting Kansas City, which has been in Major League Soccer since the league’s founding in 1996, plays its games at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas.
All World Cup matches in 2026 will be played at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.
Cliff Illig, who serves as principal owner of Sporting Kansas City, called Thursday’s announcement a huge step for the city and region’s evolution towards being a mainstay on the international soccer scene.
“The success of Kansas City’s bid is a testament to the accomplishments we can achieve when we work together," Illig said in a team press release. "Today’s announcement is the celebration of a shared vision that will culminate with the largest event in Kansas City history. The World Cup will bring unprecedented tourism and economic activity to our community and will provide an opportunity to showcase our city on a global stage. We are excited for Kansas City to proudly welcome the world for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”
2026 World Cup Host Cities
- Kansas City
- New York/New Jersey
- Vancouver [B.C.]
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Guadalajara [Mexico]
- Monterrey [Mexico]
- Mexico City
Could Missouri Have Sports Betting By 2026?
By the time the World Cup comes to Kansas City in 2026, mobile and retail sports betting figures to be a mainstay in the region — at least on the Kansas side of the boarder.
While Missouri sports betting failed to get through the legislature in 2022, Kansas signed its bill into law in May and is slated to launch during the 2022 NFL regular season.
In an interview earlier this week, Sporting KC president Jake Reid said the club sees mobile and retail sports betting as a way to engage fans on an even deeper level.
That level of attachment should only increase over the course of the next four years, as the U.S. sports betting market looks to eclipse the U.K. as the largest in the world.
A survey by Grandview Research projects the U.S. sports betting marketplace will grow from $76.75 billion in 2021 to north of $182.12 billion in 2030.
“We try to look through the lens of fan experience; how does this impact a fan watching a game?” Reid said. “And to us, this is a net positive in all of those impacts, in terms of engagement with us as a brand, and I think the league and the sport in general.”
Missouri’s sports betting legislation initially stalled out in the Senate after members, such as Sen. Danny Hoskins, filibustered over the bill’s failure to include video lottery terminals. Hoskins’ subsequent efforts to pass a standalone bill failed in early May.
Now Missouri soccer fans who want to wager on the 2022 World Cup will have to drive across the border into Kansas, which figures to have retail and mobile sports betting online by the Nov. 21 opening match in Qatar.
Fans will be able to bet on the overall tournament winner (currently Brazil +475 at BetMGM Sportsbook), group winners and each match in the tournament.