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C-Mac
05-05-2005, 08:10 AM
RAND: Chiefs offer blueprint for an upstart
May 05, 2005, 3:48:18 AM by Jonathan Rand



I can’t predict for sure if an NBA or NHL team could make it in Kansas City. My sense is that one could make a go of it, but only if it does everything right — on and off the court or rink.



While you might want to examine the history of pro basketball and pro hockey in Kansas City to try and project if a new team could succeed, there’s another place to look, too.

Let’s look at the Chiefs and Arrowhead Stadium. A lot of people see a packed house even when the Chiefs are losing and assume that all the Chiefs need to do is mail out season ticket renewals and open the gates. Those people weren’t around in the 1980s, when home crowds twice dropped below 12,000 for the last game. Those people don’t remember that during the 1980s, Kansas City was considered a great baseball town and a lukewarm football town.

For any major professional franchise to succeed in Kansas City – or anywhere else — it needs an attractive facility, star players and a winning tradition. An NHL or NBA team here will have a dazzling new arena, but that alone will draw fans for only a year or two.

When Arrowhead Stadium opened in 1972, the Chiefs averaged nearly 73,000 fans. In addition to a new stadium, they seemed primed for another Super Bowl run after having lost a Christmas Day playoff game to the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs drew 509,291 for seven home games in 1972, but started to go downhill. They never topped that attendance figure until 1990, though NFL teams began playing eight home games in 1978.

Based on the 1960s and early 1970s, you’d say Kansas City was a great football town. Based on the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, you’d say this was a fair-weather football town. Based on the last 15 years, you’d say this is one of the best NFL towns in America.

But the town didn’t change as much as the Chiefs. And their popularity remains strong, even though they’ve missed the playoffs in six of the last seven years. That’s mainly because of a winning tradition built throughout the 1990s and a 13-win season in 2003. That tradition kept optimism alive even after five straight non-playoff seasons. That optimism, of course, eventually will fade if the Chiefs don’t re-light the flame.

One of the great benefits of winning is the bandwagon effect. Once the Chiefs got hot again, a home game for many became as much of a social as a sporting event. People wanted to tailgate and be seen at Chiefs’ games. Any franchise that believes it can thrive solely with hard-core, ESPN-watching, statistics-obsessed fans is headed for oblivion.

That would be especially true for an NBA or NHL team in Kansas City, where hard-core fans for either league are in short supply. A new team would have to convince local businesses that a suite would be a great place to bring clients and convince families and singles that a game offers a worthwhile entertainment experience. Considering the cost of NHL and NBA tickets – an average of about $45 — “worthwhile” is a key word.

A team also needs to have stars to market. We live in a consumer society dominated by entertainment and celebrities and sports fans expect to be entertained by stars. Even as the Chiefs finished 7-9 last season, they had a star-studded, league-leading offense. It’s not as if people always left Arrowhead feeling as if they’d been bored.

Arrowhead also remained packed because support doesn’t evaporate overnight, It isn’t built overnight either, which is why the Chiefs can’t take anything for granted. They need to get back in the playoffs, develop new stars, find a top-notch coach to replace Dick Vermeil and get Arrowhead Stadium renovated. Otherwise, they’ll be back to small crowds and some geezers arguing over whether Priest Holmes was a better running back than Christian Okoye.

An NBA or NHL team would face a tougher sell than the Chiefs because Kansas City’s tradition is far richer for pro football than for pro basketball or pro hockey. Plus the Chiefs have only eight regular-season home dates to fill.

So to succeed in Kansas City, an NBA or NHL team not only would have to be as sharp as the Chiefs, on and off the field. They’d have to be even a little bit sharper.

King_Chief_Fan
05-05-2005, 08:20 AM
I wouldn't care what other sports teams were brought to KC.

I will spend all availabe cash for sporting events on Cheifs games.
2 chiefs games and 1 NBA game? -- Nope, 3 Chiefs games.

StcChief
05-05-2005, 08:25 AM
NBA noway.
NHL noway.

Winter time. College hoops better by far.

chagrin
05-05-2005, 08:26 AM
Since the NHL is in disarray, popularity is more than just slumping and at least 2 franchises will probably be eliminated, it would be foolish to try and bring a team to KC. I don't live there but I'm enough of a Hockey fan to know that.

the Talking Can
05-05-2005, 08:27 AM
yeah, I see the NBA or the NHL (lmao...) having a tough time...$45 to see a bunch of lazy players against the Clippers in the middle of the NBA season? sure...

cookster50
05-05-2005, 08:55 AM
NBA too expensive with too many games at those prices. Not sure about the cost of a ticket to a NHL game. Shoot, if the Chiefs had 20 home games I bet they'd have a rougher time at it.

BigChiefFan
05-05-2005, 09:48 AM
We can't even support the Royals, how in Hell can we support another major league team? I'm so sick of everybody blaming baseball for the Royals inadequacies and then not supporting the team. I'm all for any sport, but too many fans would rather bitch about it and do nothing to see it change.

eazyb81
05-05-2005, 09:57 AM
Good article.

I think we should bring in an NHL team in the next 3-5 years. The league may be in disarray right now, but it is because the owners are attempting to make the league fair for all teams, not just the rich teams. A KC team would probably not survive in the NHL a couple years ago, but they could thrive once the NHL fixes their problems next year. Also, I think KC fans could get into pro hockey a lot more then we could get into pro bball. Hockey has a lot of similarities to football, and those sports seem to do well in blue-collar towns. KC is a great college bball town, but i'm not too sure how good of a pro bball town we would be. I think the escalating salaries and the antics by the players would be frustrating for the majority of people in this town.

I would be thrilled with either an NHL or NBA team, but I truly believe that an NHL team could thrive here if it is run the right way.

Phobia
05-05-2005, 10:00 AM
We can't even support the Royals, how in Hell can we support another major league team? I'm so sick of everybody blaming baseball for the Royals inadequacies and then not supporting the team. I'm all for any sport, but too many fans would rather bitch about it and do nothing to see it change.

I don't watch baseball on TV nor do I watch the NBA and NHL. I doubt I'll be attending many games for any league. Though, I did go to a Royals game last year. They left the based loaded twice.

chagrin
05-05-2005, 10:02 AM
Well, like I said, I don't live there so I don't know for sure. But if places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Colombus (Ohio has some of the biggest fans of the game) can't sustain attendance, I am doubtful of any other states getting a franchise. Unless they take the Thrashers or Hurracaines. This is more than just a salary issue. They can't butts in the seats, period. There is not enough talent available to make it competitve. Maybe KC would make it, but it's going to be a few years before anyone gets a chance. Did you happen to notice the TV ratings from the 7 game Stanley Cup Finals last year? They were the lowest ever, and it was an awesome series!

ROYC75
05-05-2005, 10:06 AM
Scratch NBA and NHL...Just watch the :KU: play alot.

Problem solved.

ChiTown
05-05-2005, 10:08 AM
NBA noway.
NHL noway.

Winter time. College hoops better by far.

You nailed it.

KC is not an NBA town. That market is fraught with college BBall fans. I just don't see it happening. NHL? If they ever got their shite straightened out, it's a possibility. NHL brings more appeal because there isn't any other outlet nearby to get your hockey fix (if you needed one)

eazyb81
05-05-2005, 10:09 AM
I don't watch baseball on TV nor do I watch the NBA and NHL. I doubt I'll be attending many games for any league. Though, I did go to a Royals game last year. They left the based loaded twice.

The NBA is boring at times, but the NHL is more of a niche sport. Most people don't watch it if they don't have a favorite team they follow, but those who do follow a team are really into it. A lot of my friends from college are from St. Louis and are really into the Blues. I've been to a few Blues games with them and it really is an awesome experience.

ChiTown
05-05-2005, 10:15 AM
The NBA is boring at times, but the NHL is more of a niche sport. Most people don't watch it if they don't have a favorite team they follow, but those who do follow a team are really into it. A lot of my friends from college are from St. Louis and are really into the Blues. I've been to a few Blues games with them and it really is an awesome experience.

We used to have season tix to the Blackhawks. It was by far the funnest game to watch. It's exactly how you say. There is a very loyal following to certain teams. The Hawks got about +14K per game, but it was a lot of the same people every night. I don't know if KC could pull that off or not. But, it is a helluvalot of fin to watch.

CoMoChief
05-05-2005, 10:16 AM
I think NHL would work more than NBA. Hockey games are more fun to go to than NBA basketball. NBA players dont play hard at all during the reg season. They travel all the time. Fouls are never called unless theres an obvious hack that can be heard from a mile away. NCAA hoops are so much better. Ive been to a couple of Blues games and even though I dont care for St Louis sports, especially the Rams, the Blues games are fun to go to. I think Arena football would be kinda cool too. The reason why alot of fans watch KC Chiefs is because of our high powered offense. Whats the average score in a arena game, 40-45 pts? This would be fun to watch, and as loyal football fans as we are, imagine how loud we could make an arena. Im talkin decible records here set by a crowd.

Lzen
05-05-2005, 10:16 AM
Personally, I would prefer an NBA team. But I wonder if KC would support a pro basketball team? Perhaps they would if they could bring in a winning organization and/or have a couple local heroes on said team (i.e. former Jayhawk or Tiger).

As for the Royals, people don't support a loser. I don't care what sport we're talking about. And the Royals have been losers for a long time.

chagrin
05-05-2005, 10:17 AM
the Lightening just won the Cup and down here in Florida, I don't know 5 people who can name more than 2 people on the team. Worse yet, the NJ Devils, who have won 3 or 4 cups since '94 can walk down their own streets freely without fear of being recognized.
Definitely a niche sport...still though, you are still a Midwestern state, and Hockey is big in the Midwest, at least the upper Midwest. St Louis is a nice Hockey town as well of course.

eazyb81
05-05-2005, 10:20 AM
We used to have season tix to the Blackhawks. It was by far the funnest game to watch. It's exactly how you say. There is a very loyal following to certain teams. The Hawks got about +14K per game, but it was a lot of the same people every night. I don't know if KC could pull that off or not. But, it is a helluvalot of fin to watch.

We would need good management, but I think the NHL has a much better chance of succeeding here then the NBA does. I just can't see KC fans getting excited about the style of bball the NBA plays.

KC is a blue-collar town, and the NHL seems to be a blue-collar sport. If the NHL works out their issues (which they will since they are locked out), I think an NHL team could thrive here and develop strong rivalries with St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas, etc.

eazyb81
05-05-2005, 02:42 PM
I was just browsing Google looking for more info on the NHL and KC, and I found out that Kansas City has the highest TV ratings for hockey of any non-NHL city....pretty interesting.