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World Cup 2026: Missouri, Kansas governors, team owners plan ‘major announcement’ in KC

KC Star file photo

The 2026 FIFA World Cup is about three years away, but the Kansas City Sports Commission says there will be a “major announcement” on Thursday about the event.

How major?

Specifics are unknown, but the list of attendees for the event at GEHA Field at Arrowhead includes Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, Sporting KC principal owner Cliff Illig, Jackson County Executive Frank White, sports commission president and CEO Kathy Nelson and various Kansas City business leaders.

What won’t be announced is a schedule of games. National teams from across the globe still must qualify for inclusion in the 48-team field, the largest in World Cup history. By the end of the month-long event, 104 matches will have been played.

It’s unlikely that Kansas City or any of the 16 host sites in North America will know, yet, how many games will be played in their respective stadiums. Those details are expected later this year.

Qualification matches will happen into 2025 before the final draw to determine the 12 sets of four-team pools for the tournament.

The “official FIFA World Cup 2026 brand” was to be launched from Los Angeles Wednesday evening, and associated artwork was be presented to each of the 16 host cities on Thursday. A new hashtag slogan — #WeAre26 — was unveiled Wednesday afternoon.

The branding will be seen around KC Thursday, with banners hung at Union Station, wrap adorning the city’s streetcars and lawns painted at the National WWI Museum and Memorial and Mill Creek Park.

World Cup games are scheduled to begin in June 2026 with the final slated for July 19. The event will be played in three nations for the first time, with games in the following cities: