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WCup 2026 Host Cities Soccer (copy)

FILE — People wait and watch before FIFA announces the 2026 World Cup host cities last Thursday in Atlanta.

In some ways, Missouri’s legislative session resembled a World Cup soccer match. There was a lot of back and forth with enthusiastic celebration when something finally got done in the end.

To small-government advocates, getting fewer bills passed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the same vein, a soccer fan can be enthralled with 90 minutes that end in a nil-nil tie.

But eventually, something has to get across the goal. Missouri lawmakers could point to some success in a session largely defined by infighting and inaction.

The elections bill offers no-excuse absentee voting and requires a photo ID. Absolutists and the right and left will howl, meaning this is probably a good middle ground that reasonable Missourians can support.

The state budget was flush with cash both from tax collections and federal COVID relief dollars. The decision to return some of that money to the people in the form of an income tax refund is a move that Missourians will appreciate as they feel the double whammy of inflation and rising interest rates.

One bill passed with little notice, but soccer fans will come to appreciate Senate Bill 652 around this time in 2026.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. John Rizzo of Kansas City, provides a sales tax exemption on the purchase of World Cup tickets to games in Jackson County.

It seems that the Beautiful Game shares one similarity with professional sports in the United States. FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, made it known that it would give precedence to cities or states that exempt the sales tax on tickets when sites are chosen for the 2026 World Cup in North America.

Missouri complied and, as the French team would say, voila. Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium was chosen as one of 16 sites in the U.S., Mexico and Canada to host games for this mega sporting event.

It seems to us that this tax break is worth the price for Missouri to reap the benefits of $695 million in economic activity, according to a press release from Rizzo, a Democrat. Gov. Mike Parson should sign the bill.

The goal of any generous incentive is to not only enhance the host city’s prestige but also to provide a lift to hotels, restaurants, museums and other establishments that more than offsets the upfront reduction in sales tax collections.

Three things that would be good to see come from the World Cup would be spillover economic activity in St. Joseph, an effort to make any improvements to Arrowhead Stadium that would solidify the Chiefs’ presence there and a similar dedication to efforts to reduce ticket prices for other professional sporting events in Missouri.

As fans of American football know, tickets to an NFL game aren’t cheap, either.

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