Monday, September 14, 2009

World Cup bid visit to Kansas City

I had to keep this secret until now but I was invited to do something that I thought was really cool. John Kristick from the USA Bid Committee visited Kansas City last week and I was asked to go along to document the day in photos. I did so and along the way got a glimpse into the plans behind the very real possibility that Kansas City could be hosting the World Cup in 2018 (or 2022).

Kristick met with members of the Kansas City Sports, Tourism and local World Cup Bid committees prior to touring the key sites around town. I met the group as they wrapped up breakfast at a hotel on the Plaza. The people traveling with the group boarded a bus and traveled to Volker Park just east of the plaza. The park could be a site for fan fest type activities.

David Ficklin discussing bid details with John Kristick...

Signs like this greeted us everywhere we went...

Next stop was the Kansas City Wizards training facility in Swope Park. That would of course be used as a training site for teams preparing to play in Kansas City. He seemed impressed with the quality of the Wizards' fields and building.

Inside were displays showing the plans for the new stadium...

Ficklin explaining the plans for the new stadium...

From there the group traveled to Arrowhead to see where the games would be played. They went to the Chiefs' offices and discussed how easily the stadium would be modified and a host of other details. A tour of Arrowhead started at the top level and worked downward to the lower levels. The group was welcomed with on all the signboards lights and welcoming messages up on the big boards. While Arrowhead is still under renovations it was easy to see how good it would look when completed.

Chiefs official pointing out features of the stadium... all around the stadium...

After walking all around Arrowhead the group headed to lunch. Of course we headed to BBQ (this is Kansas City) and happily they chose one of the best, Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ in the Freight House district.

The group walked in to find Len Dawson waiting and George Brett soon joined us. While Len and George may not be huge soccer stars they were great ambassadors for Kansas City and were genuinely working to bring the World Cup to Kansas City. Wizards owner and Cerner bigwig Cliff Illig joined the group for lunch as well. So much conversation, so much I can not repeat.

Wizards, Chiefs, Royals and Tour of Missouri jerseys with the number 18 (think 2018) and USA names were presented as gifts...

Group photo...

After lunch (fantastic) the group walked across to Union Station and checked out the area around Liberty Memorial as another possible fan fest site. Then on to the the Westin and Crown Center for more inspections.

Having walked off a small portion of lunch the bus was re-boarded to head to Bartle Hall and the American Royal before heading to the airport.

While there are obviously no plans set in place yet, just listening to all the possibilities that were discussed was incredible. I'm excited, not just because I'm a soccer fan but all the amazing activities around being a World Cup host city would be great for the city.

Go sign up at if you have not done so already!


  1. They took them to Jack Stacks?
    Shiiiiiiit, might as well just announce the USA and KC as hosts right now?

  2. they should choose the new wizards stadium right next to legends.!