Columnist: Sporting KC Changing Landscape Of City, Joining Mainstream Sports Scene
MLS Sporting KC is “not only on its way to joining the mainstream local sports scene … the franchise is changing it,” according to Sam Mellinger of the K.C. STAR. The club is “thorough, smart, and fan-first,” and the success of the franchise in the city “is remarkable.” Mellinger: “You would need a wild imagination and perhaps an opiate to believe Sporting will overtake the Chiefs or Royals in local importance, but that’s neither the goal nor the point. Why can’t Sporting turn Kansas City from a two-sport town to a three?” Every game but one “was a sellout this year, and the team’s revenue is actually up across the board.” The average non-premium season-ticket holder “is 27 years old.” Sporting KC is “not plotting world domination here, just a bigger chunk of the local sports market and two seasons in the plan is going off almost flawlessly.” The team is “winning, and the management group is putting on a virtual clinic on how to connect with a community and make fans feel part of the process.” The only “hiccup surrounds the name” on Livestrong Sporting Park amid the fallout from doping charges against Lance Armstrong. But the team “named its stadium after an organization that provides hope for cancer victims, not the fraudulent cyclist who started it, so backtracking now would be somewhere between counterproductive and cowardly.” Sporting KC “continues to elbow its way closer to mainstream” (K.C. STAR, 10/25).