Breaking down KC Star editorial – No pro sports no big deal for the Sprint Center

Off the top, I want to make sure the intent of this post is clear. This is not a slam of Sprint Center. Sprint Center is a fine arena and was the catalyst for a downtown revival.

This is a slam of the Kansas City Star and their incredibly lazy reporting. I find it fascinating that in the same paper, in basically the same section, you have two columns that are vastly different in their criticism of spin.

In one column, you have Barbara Shelley calling out Kevin Yoder on his spin. Yoder inserted a rider into the Omnibus spending bill that helps big banks and no one else. Shelley called him out. His comment was just spin.

Yet, in another column, you have the Kansas City Star regurgitating the same spin from Sprint Center — that the venue is more nimble without an anchor tenant and that is somehow attracting bigger, better concerts than it would with an anchor tenant.

You know what? That’s nonsense. Does the Star even realize that NBA and NHL teams go on road trips, sometimes very long ones? For instance, the LA Kings were on the road from December 9 to December 16, plenty of time for an arena to host a three day event like Monster Jam.
I’m going to set a timer right now and research concerts at Sprint Center and other venues in similar-sized markets. Be right back….

Ok, so the timer thing didn’t work out because the dog needed to go out. But, it was less than 10 minutes for me to compile this list of Sprint Center events through 2015.
College basketball
Black Keys
Trans-Siberian
College basketball
Globetrotters
Winter Jam
Sesame Street – 2 days
Monster Jam – 3 days
Manilow
PBR – 2 days
Arenacross – 2 days
Nickelback
Disney on Ice – 5 days
Big XII – 4 days
WWE
Seger
Maroon 5
Charlie Wilson (no idea who that is)
Fleetwood Mac
Billy Joel
The Who
Nitro Circus
Foo Fighters
Taylor Swift – 2 days

Can we agree that Nashville is a similar market to KC? Using Nielsen TV markets as a guide, Nashville is #29 and Kansas City is #31. Let’s look at non-NHL events coming to Bridgestone Arena. Timer on…

Brantly Gilbert (again, no idea who that is)
Marvel Universe – 3 days
Justin Timberlake
Kelly Clarkson
Bassnector (who are these people, I’m getting old)
Monster Jam – 2 days
Eric Church
Linkin Park
Ringling Bros. – 3 days
Jack White
Arena Cross – 2 days
Winter Jam
Disney Live Jr.
Charlie Wilson (I really should find out who this is, I thought it was a Tom Hanks movie)
Jason Aldean
WWE
Maroon 5
Chris Brown
Fleetwood Mac
Nickelback
The Who
Nitro Circus
Charlie Daniels
Taylor Swift – 2 days
Foo Fighters

What do we see as we compare these two?
Sprint Center has 37 non NBA or NHL event days.
Bridgestone arena has 30 non NHL event days. The major difference is the Big XII tournament and Sprint Center’s five days of Disney on Ice.

The concerts pretty much match up. Billy Joel isn’t going to Nashville, but Sprint Center doesn’t have Kelly Clarkson or Charlie Daniels. (by the way, Black Keys already played Nashville).

Nashville has an NHL team. Not only do they have the 26 remaining home games for the Predators, but Bridgestone Arena may have to prepare for at least three playoff games…could be more as the Predators look good this year. Yet, the arena is still attracting Arenacross, WWE, Maroon 5, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters and Justin Timberlake (who was in KC earlier this year). The Predators are averaging 16,800 this season, which means they are going to have 436,800 bodies through their turnstiles through April of 2015. You think the bars and restaurants around Bridgestone Arena appreciate the nearly half a million people that will go to NHL games? You think that number of foot traffic could offset some if not most of the losses at P&L?

Timer off. In 14 minutes and 23 seconds, I’ve completely refuted the following line in the Star’s editorial:
For instance, it would make little sense for Sprint Center officials to reduce their ability to get first-class concerts by setting aside 40 or so dates a season for a National Basketball Association team.

This claim in the editorial is accurate:
In turn, that club could demand to take some or all of the fees and concession revenue during games at the center.

This has always been true. Yet, when Mario Lemieux was flirting with KC and AEG was waving a favorable lease under his nose, the KC Star was all-in on how great a deal it would be for KC.

Let’s break down these little nuggets:
At the time, some Kansas City sports fans hoped that the new arena would help the city woo a pro basketball or hockey team.

Hmmm…not how I remember it. AEG told Kansas City sports fans they would find an owner who would bring an NHL or NBA team to Kansas City. Former Mayor Kay Barnes said she had 100% faith in Tim Lieweke. Mayor James said “THEY told him the timing wasn’t right”, whoever THEY is.

But that effort has gone nowhere, partly because relatively few teams have moved in the last decade.

This line is comical. Absolutely comical. Relatively few teams have moved IN THE LAST 40 YEARS!!! Just to show you how incredibly lazy this comment from the Kansas City Star is, I’ll give you a quick recap:
Eight NHL franchises have moved in 40 years.
Seven NBA franchises have moved in 40 years (if you include NJ Nets to Brooklyn).
When NHL franchises moved, three of the eight were a result of old guard NHL owners allowing new owners to move out of WHA markets (Quebec, Winnipeg, Hartford) — markets the old guard NHL owners never wanted in the first place. Plus, the Canadian dollar was terrible at the time and there were no Canadian owners that wanted to keep the franchises in aging arenas. Hartford wouldn’t build Peter Karamanos a new arena. Since Sprint Center opened in 2007, Atlanta moved to Winnipeg because Winnipeg had billionaire David Thompson ready to purchase a team. Clay Bennett stole the Sonics from Seattle. Only once in 39 years, ONCE!, has a sitting NHL owner moved his franchise to another market. Norm Greed (er, Green) moved the North Stars to Dallas.

The high cost of a successful bid also factors heavily in the process.

Huh? I don’t know what this line means. I think it’s a hedge against Las Vegas (or Seattle) and Quebec City getting NHL expansion teams. Markets that, you know, already have owners.

Can we get someone good, like Kevin Collison, to report on Sprint Center? Oh wait…

About blogger

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