With Kansas City hosting the World Cup at Arrowhead in 2026, can the renovations possibly help keep the Chiefs in their historic venue past 2030?
Kansas City is one of the cities in the United States which has exploded in popularity over the past decade. Kansas City has been growing in population since the start of 2012 and has been seen as a great place for food, living, and nightlife. The city’s popularity has also grown partially because they have been a great sports city. Sporting Kansas City, the Royals, and the Cheifs have all won championships in the past decade, and the city has the most popular football player in the United States. Kansas City is a city that is known to love its sports and is ranked as the best city for soccer. With the popularity of the city and the recent success of the metro area as a sports market, it makes sense why they should see the World Cup in 2026.
Men’s Soccer is less popular in the USA, I can assure you that as Europeans, we are all waiting impatiently for the World Cup, it is a huge party, people travel around the world to be able to be a part of this event. We don’t know yet how many games will be played At Arrowhead, but Kansas City was announced as a finalist among other big cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas (Fort Worth), Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, and New York. A total of 60 matches will be played in these locations in the United States, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes both were quite excited by the idea and what it meant for the city. Mahomes is a part owner of Sporting Kansas City Football Club, and his wife owns the new Kansas City Current, a new franchise in the Women’s Soccer League. Mahomes and other Kansas City athletes were some of the faces of the campaign for the World Cup coming to the City of Fountains.
Since GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is the only venue that can support the number of fans and media necessary to host the games, it will have to fit the requirements of FIFA. This means it will need some renovations and upgrades in the coming years, which might help keep the Chiefs in Arrowhead.
Kansas City mayor Quiton Lucas responded to comments from KCUR reporter Celisa Calacal, detailing some of the costs of the winning World Cup bid. He says the only real cost right now is $50 million worth of improvements for GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. He expects that to come via a combination of state funds and private fundraising, but it also sounds like they want some commitment from the Chiefs before making that investment.
Will Kansas City be ready to host in 2026 at Arrowhead’s GEHA Field?
Seats will have to be removed from the stadium. The reconfigured field must meet FIFA standards for soccer. Turnstiles must be added, and an entertainment village will be built, among other infrastructure changes that will be needed. In addition to all the newest renovations, Lucas expects additional funding for increased public transit to the stadium from various population centers and landmarks around Kansas City. Arrowhead always lacked connectivity to the stadium, so that only could be key to keeping the Chiefs in Arrowhead long-term.
The FIFA news also means the popular street car will be expanding its railways all the way out to Arrowhead as a way to not clog traffic for the games. The streetcar access to the stadium would really help in trying to keep the Truman Sports Complex alive, as both the Royals and Chiefs have stadium leases that end in the early 2030s. One of the major problems with Kansas City is the lack of reliable public transportation, and expanding the streetcar will help with traffic going to and from Arrowhead and Kauffman.
Chiefs team president Mark Donovan has acknowledged that these investments for the World Cup will play a part in the discussion about what comes next for the team and Arrowhead Stadium.
“We have nine years left on our lease,” Hunt said. “We’re very happy in Arrowhead. We still think it’s one of the great venues in the National Football League. We’ve started the process of evaluating whether Arrowhead has a chance of going past the end of this lease. That’s going to be an ongoing process over the next couple of years. I can’t give you a definitive timeline on that. Because we’ve started early, the good news is we’re going to have plenty of time to make that evaluation and hopefully find a solution that not only works for the Kansas City Chiefs but works for the entire community.”
Arrowhead is a part of Kansas City, and the Kingdom has been through many ups and downs there. There are a lot of positives this FIFA renovation will bring