View Full Version : Covitz: Arena League in KC probably out for '06

08-23-2005, 01:28 AM

Arena League probably out for ’06


The Kansas City Star

It appears Kansas City will have to wait until 2007 for an Arena Football League franchise.

An Arena League spokesman said Monday that Kansas City will not be part of the 2006 season because the prospective ownership group, K.C. Arena Sports and Entertainment, could not reach an agreement to play in the new Sprint Center when it opens in 2007.

Although the Kansas City team was to play at Kemper Arena in 2006 and probably in 2007, the league — as well as Tyler Prochnow, president of the ownership group — did not want to begin play at Kemper without an understanding that the team would move to the new arena.

The Arena League has added Utah as an expansion team for 2006, bringing the total to 18 teams, but Chris McCloskey, the league’s senior vice president/communications, said Kansas City remains part of the league’s future.

“It’s a great ownership group, and we know Kansas City is going to be a great market,” McCloskey said, “but let’s do it the right way, and right now that means 2007.”

The indoor football season begins in February, and the Arena League could not wait much longer for Kansas City to finalize its deal. The free-agency period begins in September, and an expansion draft for Utah will follow.

“We really need to get the schedule out by the end of September,” McCloskey said, “which means we have to start working on it now.”

Prochnow, who attended the recent Arena League summer meetings, as well as the Arena Bowl and meetings in June, was disappointed but not discouraged.

“It’s disappointing from a fan’s standpoint,” Prochnow said, “but from a pure business and ownership standpoint, we’ve always said we’re more interested in doing it right. There was never anything magical about the 2006 season, other than we wanted to start as soon as we could.

“In talking with the owners and the league office, they’re very committed to Kansas City and still believe this will be a great market and are committed to the long-term success of this as well. If all they were interested in was getting our expansion fee and letting us sink or swim on our own, they would have done a lot of things to drag us in this year.”

Prochnow said negotiations with Anschutz Entertainment Group have not been contentious, but it’s still too early in the construction of the arena to negotiate some issues.

“One of the examples is parking rights and spaces,” Prochnow said. “AEG doesn’t even know how many parking spaces they’re going to have. It’s issues like that. Some of them are out of everybody’s control, and there are some others that are fairly substantial for us as a franchise and for AEG, too, in just figuring out how we will divvy up the inventory in the building, from seats to advertising, and everything else.

“AEG has had a lot of other issues on their plate building it before they really focus on who the tenants are going to be in the place, and they’ve got a lot of facilities around the world they’re working on.”

Prochnow is comfortable with Kemper Arena as an interim facility, but it lacks the amenities and revenue streams the Sprint Center is expected to produce. And if for some reason AEG secures an NBA and/or NHL franchise and elects not to house an Arena League franchise, Prochnow doesn’t want to be tied to Kemper, which might be retrofitted for livestock and agricultural shows.

“We can’t put ourselves in a position where even if we thought Kemper was a long-term alternative, I don’t know if Kemper will be a facility we can play in with all the things I keep hearing about it becoming a facility for tractor pulls, rodeo and the American Royal,” he said. “We might not have an option.”

Prochnow had spent the last several months interviewing front-office and coaching candidates, and his biggest disappointment was putting them on hold.

“If there’s anything disappointing, we really felt we had identified and had a good shot at landing a top-quality front office and administrative staff and ticket operation,” Prochnow said, “and the quality of people we interviewed was tremendous. To know that chances are, at least one of them, and maybe a few more won’t be around a year from now …”

08-23-2005, 05:27 AM
Would that be Arena Leage or Arena League 2 that would be coming to KC?

the Talking Can
08-23-2005, 05:36 AM
we need more tractor pulls...

08-23-2005, 06:59 AM
Better than hockey.