On Thursday, Kansas City was officially chosen as one of 16 host locations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The matches will be played at GEHA Field at Arrowhead.
Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, whose ownership group includes FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, was on hand in Kansas City’s Power & Light District as the announcement was made. The decision rewards years of effort by the Hunt family in marketing the world’s most popular sport to American fans.
Hunt’s father (and Chiefs founder) Lamar Hunt played a significant role in American professional soccer’s emergence since the United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994. After investing in the now-defunct North American Soccer League in the 1970s, Hunt founded Sporting KC (then the Kansas City Wiz) for the inaugural MLS season in 1996. The team played at Arrowhead through the 2007 season.
The Hunt family also founded the Columbus Crew, a charter MLS franchise for whom they secured funding for the league’s first soccer-specific stadium. After acquiring FC Dallas in 2003, the family sold the Kansas City and Columbus franchises in 2006 and 2013 respectively.
Of course, Clark Hunt may only be the second best-known soccer fan in the Chiefs organization.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is part of Sporting KC’s current ownership group. In addition, his wife Brittany is a former college soccer player and part-owner of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Kansas City Current. Mahomes discussed the impending announcement in his remarks earlier Thursday on the final day of the Chiefs’ mandatory minicamp.
“It would be awesome,” Mahomes said of the possibility of Kansas City hosting the games. “I was talking about that with Brittany yesterday. I’m going to be at every one of those games I can possibly be at if they do get them here. I know Kansas City and how much they love soccer. You see it with Sporting — and how they sell out almost every game. And with the Current now in Sporting Stadium — they’re bringing in these huge crowds. So you know that Kansas City loves that sport and I think if we get that bid — we’ll be selling out Arrowhead, Sporting, the Current stadium whenever it gets built up. It will be a great experience, and I’ll be at every single one of them here.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid also weighed in on the possibility in his remarks Thursday, revealing a previously unknown appreciation for the other football.
“That would be great,” Reid said of Kansas City’s bid. “I like soccer, believe it or not. I know I’m not built like a soccer player — but I wasn’t built like a quarterback coach either. I enjoy the sport. I have a ton of respect for those guys and the amount of work that goes into it. I know how fond the Hunt family is of soccer — and how much it means to them.
“And then the city of Kansas City, they love soccer too. We would definitely have a great turn out there, I know. [And] great support.”