Gov. joins officials in KC to announce KC2026 leading preparations for World Cup
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) - Kansas’ Governor has joined officials in Kansas City to announce the KC2026 organization to lead the city’s preparations for the 2026 World Cup.
On Thursday, May 18, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says she joined leaders in the Kansas City metro to announce the formation of KC2026 and its Board of Directors which will include business executives, civic leaders and elected officials.
Gov. Kelly said the nonprofit will oversee the strategy and delivery of host city duties for the FIFA World Cup in 2026. The group will plan, construct and implement all aspects of the city’s largest sports and fan engagement event in the region’s history.
“Bringing the FIFA World Cup 26™ to the Kansas City Metro Region was a bi-state effort that will boost the Kansas economy and show the world all that our state has to offer,” Kelly noted. “I’m delighted that a great team is being assembled to coordinate planning efforts over the next three years, and I look forward to continuing to make the necessary investments to get Kansas City ready for this great opportunity.”
A recent study has found that the 2026 World Cup and events in the weeks leading up to it will boost tourism and benefit the region’s economy to the tune of $620 million.
“This is a proud moment for Kansas City,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “The FIFA World Cup 26™ will bring jobs to our residents, generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our region, and will illustrate on a global stage what we’ve known for some time: Kansas City is the soccer capital of America. I can’t wait to welcome the world to Kansas City.”
The Governor said the organization will closely work with FIFA officials to ensure compliance with event guidelines and standards. The board will also lead fundraising efforts and engage with various stakeholders - including government entities, community organizations, sponsors and volunteers to ensure all preparations are in place for the big game.
“Kansas City is an ideal market to host the world’s largest sports event in 2026, and we needed an organization that could deliver on our host city responsibilities and continue to showcase KC as premier sports, business, and talent destination,” said Karen Daniel, President of KC2026 Executive Committee and Board of Directors. “This is Kansas City’s moment and KC2026, alongside many partners across the region, is moving intentionally and with great focus to bring to fruition an event that will shape our community’s future for generations to come.”
Kelly indicated that KC2026 is led by a Board of Directors and key leaders including Mayor Quinton Lucas and honorary board co-chairs Clark Hunt, Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Cliff Illig, Principal Owner of Sporting Kansas City. Her own appointee was named Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes who represents Overland Park and Lenexa.
The Governor said KC2026 Board of Directors includes:
- Karen Daniel, KC2026 Board President, Chief Financial Officer, Black & Veatch (retired)
- Neal Sharma, KC2026 Board Vice President, President, Dentsu shop & Co-Founder and Former CEO, DEG
- Jake Reid, KC2026 Board Vice President, President and CEO, Sporting Kansas City
- Kathy Nelson, KC2026 Board Secretary, President and CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC
- Esther George, KC2026 Board Treasurer, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (2011-2023)
While Board Members include:
- Mayra Aguirre, President, Hall Family Foundation
- David Johnston, County Administrator, Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas
- Mike Kelly, Chairman, Johnson County Board of County Commissioners
- Matt Kenny, Executive Vice President - Operations and Events, Kansas City Chiefs
- Angie Long, Co-Owner, Kansas City Current
- Brian Platt, City Manager, Kansas City
- Joe Reardon, President and CEO, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
- Senator John Rizzo, State of Missouri
- Jim Rowland, Executive Director, Jackson County Sports Complex Authority
- Morgan Said, Chief of Staff - Office of the Mayor, Kansas City
- Senator Dinah Sykes, State of Kansas
- Frank White Jr., Jackson County Executive, Jackson County, Missouri
For more information about KC2026, click HERE.
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