Sprint Center turns 5 & KC Star Celebrates 8 years as Sprint Center PR Rep

The Kansas City Star had a nice article in Sunday’s edition about Sprint Center.

A popular and financial success, Sprint Center turns five

It’s a good article that looks back at the history of Sprint Center and the activity at the arena for the last five years — the POSITIVE history. It barely touches on the negatives to the Sprint Center — the fact there never was going to be an anchor tenant and that Cordish was, at one time, furious with AEG. Some 8,000 LB gorilla sat on Cordish and they only make nice-nice now.

“When there is the right event at the Sprint Center, whether a concert or sporting event, the energy that comes off the arena is tremendous and can be felt throughout the Power & Light District and downtown as a whole,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director.

“We remain hopeful that we will be able to show off these synergies to the fans of an NHL or NBA team in the near future and continue to believe that downtown Kansas City is a worthy home for additional professional sports franchises.”

Remain hopeful? Translation “We drowning because we’re not getting nearly the traffic we were promised. Please send help.”

The Star follows up with an editorial that would make any J-school professor teaching Public Relations proud.
The Star’s editorial | Sprint Center has been a success story for KC

The Sprint Center has been a big success even though Kansas City has not landed a major league basketball or hockey franchise.

Put another way, the still-gleaming arena has helped energize downtown since it opened five years ago largely because it doesn’t host a permanent sports team.

Oh, you’re f* kidding me?

Metropolitan area residents have had opportunities to see top concerts featuring all kinds of music — along with the circus and monster truck extravaganzas.

Opportunity to see concerts. Sure. I loved Pearl Jam, Kiss and a few other events I’ve been to at Sprint Center. It’s a wonderful arena. But, circus’ and Monster truck extravaganzas? I know we have a large contingent of K-State fans in KC, but we’re going to be proud of monster truck extravaganzas.

Hint to the KC Star Editorial Board — If we had an NHL or NBA team WE’D STILL HAVE THOSE F* EXTRAVAGANZAS!! They’d be at Kemper, numnuts. You know, the mothballed arena the city is still paying for? Just like the circus and monster truck extravaganzas and even Cirque Du Soleil were at Kemper before. This statement makes it sound like this cowtown never had a good event prior to Sprint Center. WE DID, idiots. Cirque, David Bowie, Sprintsteen, REM, U2, Billy Joel & Elton John, NHL preseason games, the FINAL FOUR — I could go on and on about the great shows that I’ve seen in Kansas City’s indoor arena. Did we miss some shows? Sure. But to make the intimation that we didn’t have these shows in the past is absolute deception. Heck, I went to Disney on Ice a few years ago at Kemper after Sprint Center opened and you know what? It was great!! With fewer dates the arena was clean and well run. And, it didn’t take me 20 minutes to get in the door the way it does before a Sprint Center event.

AEG kept its word by pumping in tens of millions of dollars toward building the arena.

Yes, but as your own story points out, AEG won’t upgrade the arena’s televisions or seating bowl electronics.

While the nearby Power & Light District continues to have economic problems, the challenges would be even more severe without the customers delivered by the arena.

What? The challenges WOULDN’T EVEN EXIST without the arena because the P&L never would have been built.

Looking ahead, the city needs to keep a close eye on who buys AEG, which is now for sale, and whether the new operator starts cutting corners in booking first-class events at Sprint Center.

Oh, give me a break. No they don’t. First, it doesn’t matter who buys AEG because the contracts are going to stay the same and the corporation is basically going to be the same. AEG has said they will honor all contracts and, I’m sure, the city would force them to. Second, any one with any sense can figure out a buyer is probably already in place. Wouldn’t you think Leiweke, and perhaps a few other execs at AEG, are part of the new ownership group?

Seriously, this editorial seems more like a Junior High journalism class project.

Good gravy. I’m right back where I was eight or so years ago. Writing blog posts about how awful the Star’s coverage is of the arena.

Would I be happy if the coverage were more negative? Of course not. The incredible disservice in this case is the complete lack of critical thinking involved in this editorial.

At this point, this semi-anonymous blogger who claims (and has sometimes proven) his knowledge of the NHL and franchise movement in that league, is ever nearer to claiming victory. I said all along that Kansas City was not a candidate for an NHL team — never was, never will be. While our fair city CAN support an NHL (or NBA) team, bringing one here is not only an insurmountable challenge but was never actually part of the arena’s strategy. The Kansas City Star itself is now claiming the arena is a success because it doesn’t have a professional sports franchise (maybe even better off without silly inside football). Sprint Center was not built for an NHL or NBA team. A team CAN play in the building, but it was built because when AEG looked at the US map and the markets they were serving and KC (and many parts of the Midwest) was a huge gaping hole. By having an arena in KC they could fill a hole in their portfolio. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s good business. The completely disingenuous campaign platform that KC would have an NHL or NBA franchise and then perpetuating that campaign until, well, about last year when AEG started distancing itself from it, was wrong. The Star’s lack of foresight to see that was a complete failure. It should have been called out by the Star YEARS AGO. The Star could have done it. The evidence was there. It was rather simple. Just look at the lease agreements of the 30 NHL franchises and anyone could see that NONE of the 30 NHL franchises were moving. The were locked in to their markets — especially since Kansas City has never had an owner (I promised to never mention Boots Del Biaggio in a post again…ooops).

Now, the Star is fully on board with the “no NHL or NBA team”, just like when it fell hook, line and sinker for the “promise of an NHL or NBA team.”

Ugh…

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Just a guy in KC who loves hockey. KC is a hockey town. We just don't know it, yet.
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