The Missouri legislature has offered an assist to Kansas City’s bid at bringing the World Cup to Kansas City, and with it, hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy.
“It’s estimated that it would bring $750-million to the state. You’re going to need 50,000 hotel rooms. [Fans] are going to come from all over the world and get to see all of Missouri. They’re going to travel within Missouri and the country,” said Representative Jonathan Patterson (R-Lees Summit). “100-million people watch the Super Bowl. One billion people will watch the World Cup, so this is equivalent to 7 to ten Super Bowls.”
The House and Senate passed legislation that would exempt tickets to the 2026 World Cup from sales taxes if it is held in Kansas City, which is one of 22 cities among 16 potential host sites vying for the event.
Patterson, who has spearheaded the effort in the House to get this legislation passed, said FIFA (the International Federation of Association Football) stipulated that whatever state hosts the World Cup not charge sales tax on their tickets. He said Missouri would be the first state to meet that requirement, assuming Governor Mike Parson (R) signs into law House Bill 1606 and/or Senate Bill 652, both of which were sent to him last week.
Legislators say the measure is a priority for the governor.
“So we are going to be first in the organizers’ minds about states that have filled out a criteria that they wanted to meet before awarding a host site,” said Patterson. “So I think with [these bills] we put ourselves in a very good position to get a host site.”
Representative Wes Rogers (D-Kansas City) said this legislation was in no way just about Kansas City.
“People from as far away as the Lake [of the Ozarks] will need to provide housing. There’s not enough housing in [Kansas City] and there won’t be. You’re talking about people staying in Columbia, probably even Jefferson City and the Lake, so it’s statewide economic impact,” said Rogers. “And they’re going to be here for a month, too, and there’s only a few soccer games, so they’re going to be going back and forth from Kansas City to St. Louis, and they’re going to go down to Springfield, and they’re going to see what else is around. It’s not just the games, it’s also everything people are going to do while they’re here.”
Rogers is quick to note that while the legislation would exempt taxes on the tickets, it will not exempt taxes on all the other places people will spend money while attending the World Cup.
“For every hotel room, for every meal that they eat, for any time they go to the convenience store they’re going to be paying a lot of taxes, just not on the tickets themselves.”
Both representatives say Kansas City is a great sports town with impressive facilities to go with good food and other draws, and they would hold it up against the other potential host sites.
“I think this would put it on the map and really showcase it to the world,” said Patterson. “I think with [these bills] we put ourselves in a very good position to get a host site.”
The proposed exemption has broad bipartisan support. The House vote on SB 652, which included only that language, was 141-5. That bill and HB 1606 are awaiting action by Governor Parson.