SBD/December 3, 2013/Franchises

Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman Sits For Q&A Ahead Of MLS Cup Final

Sporting KC wants to stay ahead of fan experience trends at its stadium
MLS Sporting KC is "peaking on and off the field," as this year's Eastern Conference champion has "sold out 34 straight games, is sold out of season tickets for the 2014 season and has the third-highest merchandise revenue" in MLS, according to James Dornbrook of the K.C. BUSINESS JOURNAL. Dornbrook conducted a Q&A with Sporting KC CEO Robb Heineman ahead of the team's MLS Cup Final against Real Salt Lake this Saturday. Below are excerpts from the Q&A:

Q: How do you keep alive the creative and entrepreneurial spirit that helped you achieve so much success, as you become larger and more popular?
Heineman: Sometimes, we take risks and do things that don't work out, and other times they do. Going into next season, it's going to be all about how to make that in-stadium experience even better. You do that with different interactions with the fans and different events, but you try whatever you can. We're constantly looking to innovate and improve. We're always asking our fans questions to figure out what we could do better. 

Q: Is it a challenge to keep people focused with such a short offseason?
Heineman: Everyone is energized by this being basically a year-round business that we're running. It means you've always got to stay focused and do things in a high-class way. I think that's the challenge our owners have set for us -- they want us to be world class in our league, and that's what we try to do.

Q: What other challenges do you face preparing for next season?
Heineman: When we look at next year from a business perspective, the shine is now off the new stadium. It will be the fourth year, so there are other things we need to do to continue providing a new and exciting experience for our fans. It will be a big challenge for us on the business side to come up with whatever the next version of Sporting is going to look like (K.C. BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/29 issue).
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