Kansas City Power & Light District leader: How district can score with World Cup games
The hundreds of people who gathered last month to watch and celebrate Kansas City's selection as a World Cup host give a taste of the massive crowds that will pack the Kansas City Power & Light District four years from now when FIFA comes to town.
The eight-block district will provide a central entertainment hub for tens of thousands of out-of-town visitors. Existing and coming retail businesses are poised to capitalize on the surge in game day traffic.
John Moncke will oversee Power & Light in the lead-up to the World Cup, plus any necessary operational and structural changes to the area. Moncke made a name for himself in Kansas City's sports scene before joining The Cordish Cos. as the district's president in August 2021.
For more than 10 years beforehand, Moncke served as an executive with Sporting Kansas City, including as executive vice president of stadium and brand revenue.
The Kansas City Business Journal recently spoke with Moncke about how he expects the World Cup to affect the Power & Light District. This conversation is edited for length and clarity.
What role do you envision the Power & Light District playing in welcoming the significant number of out-of-town visitors the FIFA World Cup is expected to bring to Kansas City?
The Power & Light District has been the focal point for massive World Cup watch parties in Kansas City since 2010, when we first partnered with Sporting KC and the city for the first World Cup watch party. Since then, (it) has hosted hundreds of thousands of World Cup fans, which people all over the world have seen.
These massive watch parties really launched telling our local KC story on the international soccer stage. We are continuing to collaborate with the consortium that secured the bid to raise the bar on programming to support the event this fall and when the event comes to KC.
What, if any physical changes are anticipated to the KC Live! venue and its operations (i.e. maintenance, security) to accommodate the high volume of visitors? Are there any temporary changes anticipated during the World Cup, like street closures?
It’s still early in the process to discuss major structural changes to the KC Live! Block. Our operations and event production teams operate at a high level daily, producing large-scale events of all types including street festivals that span multiple city blocks. Our teams and our venues will be ready.
To what degree do you foresee increases in business for Power & Light's retail tenants during the World Cup?
The host city announcement has already fueled a lot of excitement and interest on the (retail) leasing side of the business. With the district’s central location, streetcar accessibility and proximity to the hotels and luxury rentals where fans will be staying, we anticipate a significant increase in retail sales and also see (the World Cup) as an opportunity to showcase an exciting mix of national tenants and homegrown small businesses.
Will the coming World Cup affect timelines for any impending development proposals by The Cordish Cos. in or near Power & Light?
There are a lot of factors that go into any development process, but we’ve got our foot on the gas and will be pushing hard to maximize the impact of hosting the World Cup.
Given your history with Sporting Kansas City, what do you value most about the opportunity to help welcome FIFA to Kansas City in your current role with Power & Light?
It’s so exciting that we will get to showcase to the world that KC has now become a world-class city. We have unbelievable soccer culture and facilities here due in large part to the work that Sporting KC has done, and it is exciting to see how the KC Current are literally building on this culture with the first women’s specific pro stadium in the country.
We have some of the best sports fans of any city, and we will help everyone who comes to KC for the World Cup make memories that will last a lifetime. Tremendous resources have gone into making both the Power & Light District and downtown KC one of the most attractive places to live, work and play in the region. Now, the whole world will see.
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