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Old 04-08-2013, 10:20 PM   Topic Starter
|Zach| |Zach| is offline
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Forbes | Sporting Park: One of America's Best Sporting Experiences

Sporting Park: One of America's Best Sporting Experiences

http://www.forbes.com/sites/prishe/2...g-experiences/

From a consumer’s perspective, Sporting KC is among America’s best sporting experiences.

Bold statement? Perhaps, and not one that would likely apply to sports fans who cannot stand soccer.

But when you consider all the things that make a person’s complete consumption experience at a sporting event enjoyable and memorable, Sporting KC takes a back seat to few within the professional sports realm.

And from a broader perspective, the Kansas City region (both in Missouri and Kansas) is slowly seeing the economic fruits of its various regional development projects.

FANTASTIC CONSUMER EXPERIENCE AT SPORTING PARK

On March 30th, we attended a Saturday night match-up between Sporting KC and Montreal Impact. A highly anticipated affair given that Montreal came into the match with an unbeaten 4-0 mark, facing a home side that was the defending 2012 Eastern Conference champions.

We had some inkling as to what kind of afternoon/evening we were in store for based on my previous experience at the facility for the USA v Guatemala World Cup qualifying match in October 2012. But whereas nationalistic spirit was on display that night, what we were treated to on this night was Blue Heaven.

There are numerous attributes that comprise a consumer’s total sports experience:

- Facility

Sporting Park is first-rate, and it is no surprise that USA Soccer is heading back there October 11th for their final home World Cup qualifier versus Jamaica.

An open-air facility, Sporting Park is architecturally designed such that most if not all the seats are covered from the elements. Furthermore, this design traps fan noise within the facility…creating more of a home field advantage.

My co-author herein, a former Division I soccer player who has attended numerous professional soccer matches both in the United States and in Europe including the 2006 World Cup in Germany, noted that the stadium is as good as he has seen for a stadium of its size…and that includes stadiums that have hosted World Cup matches and important club competitions.

- Fans

Boisterous, engaged, united, and educated. What more can you ask for.

Walking into the stadium, numerous people had scarves and jerseys representing the team’s colors. The atmosphere felt like a proper soccer match…almost as if attending a professional match in Europe.

Additionally, most of the more ardent supporters had chants memorized which permeated throughout the stadium. Given the crowd noise throughout the match, many media members were shocked that the attendance wasn’t greater than the reported 18,609 in attendance.

- Complementary consumer activity

Conveniently built next to the Legends Outlets, Warren Buffet-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabela’s outdoor recreation merchandise and outfitter, and the Kansas Motor Speedway, there are countless ways to entertain oneself and make a full afternoon/evening of it.

- Ease of transportation

Though a 15-minute drive west of downtown Kansas City, the facility is less than 2 miles off Interstate 70. And since crowd sizes are between 18-20 K, traffic before and after games is highly manageable.

SPORTING KC PART OF A BROADER RE-BRANDING EFFORT IN KANSAS CITY

Long known for their tasty barbecue, the elegant Plaza, and home to rabid Chiefs football fans, the Kansas City region has become a better destination for out-of-town visitors/events thanks to a myriad of both urban developments (Power and Light District most notably) and sports facilities (Kansas Motor Speedway, Sprint Center, and Sporting Park).

There is no doubt, however, that the success of Sporting KC in recent years has led to the additional visibility associated with the U.S. National Team performing in K.C.

In 2011 and 2012 respectively, Sporting KC averaged 17,810 and 19,404 fans…among the league’s best. And in light of all the factors that build upon a fan’s high-quality sporting experience, combined with the decided home-field advantage that Sporting KC enjoys at Sporting Park in part due to its loyal supporters, it is no surprise that this facility has become a must-have on Team USA’s home qualifying schedule.

And why a trip to Sporting Park is a must-see sporting spectacle. Certainly if you are a soccer fan, and more generally, for sports consumers who simply appreciate a superior sports consumption experience.
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