Blog Entry

We've been duped here in Kansas City

Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:13 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We were asked to vote on a new arena here in Kansas City a few years ago. The plan -- no, the promise -- was to lure a pro franchise to play in it.

That's how 72 suites were sold in a matter of months. That's what the president of arena giant, AEG, said. You can look it up. Tim Leiweke said we'd have our own franchise (NBA, NHL) when the doors opened in October 2007.

I thought about that watching a thoroughly entertaining preseason NHL game Tuesday night at that arena -- the Sprint Center here in Kansas City. The game was sold out. The hockey was fantastic, Pittsburgh over L.A. 3-2 in an eight-round shootout.

Then this morning I read the latest back track from Leiweke

"Kansas City," he told the Kansas City Star, "can take its time."

Whoa, wait a minute. Who is Tim Leiweke telling us what to do when his politicking and false promises got us to this point?

Why not just admit, Tim, that you duped us? Admit that the Sprint Center was built four years ago to become the world's largest concert hall in the first place?

Take our time? How dare you? AEG has taken out full-page ads to proclaim that it is one of the most successful music and entertainment venues in the world. Those 100 nights of Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne and Guns N Roses, may be fun but that's not why we voted $250 million for the Sprint Center.

It was for the promise of attracting a pro franchise and to keep the Big 12 basketball tournament. That second item looks kind of shaky because the Big 12 has almost broken up twice in the last 16 months. I'm sure AEG didn't count on that, but it probably didn't have a four-day, college basketball tournament at the top of its list for building for building Sprint either.

The arena was built to house acts it could funnel through Kansas City. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m trying to come up with a list of cities this size with an arena this new that don't have a pro franchise. Please, someone help me here.

I just wish they'd told us that up front. I would have had a harder time voting for a car rental and entertainment tax to watch Enrique Iglesias and the pro rodeo tour.

“Right now there is not an urgency [to get an anchor tenant],” Leiweke told the Star. “This building is doing phenomenal."

And to that I proclaim B. -- freakin' -- S. Ask the merchants across the street at the Power and Light (entertainment) District who are doing OK, but could be doing so much better with a guaranteed 41 home dates for an NBA or NHL franchise.

One of the biggest days in the P&L's short history was a crowd that gathered to watch a U.S. World Cup game there in 2010. That had nothing to do with the glittering jewel across the street, Sprint just happened to be there.

I get that there has been an economic downturn since the building opened. I get that teams aren't moving and leagues aren't expanding. That's why I feel doubly duped. Leiweke should have never made those claims when he needed our tax dollars to fund his concert hall. I feel doubly duped because Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group toured the construction site. It turned out to be leverage for the Penguins to get their new building.

We are a college town. Check that, we are a Chiefs and Jayhawks town. You wonder how an NHL or NBA franchise would do on nights when Kansas, Kansas State or Missouri are playing basketball. I still wonder that. I also wonder why I voted for Sprint when the plan all along was to fill it with exhibition games and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Full disclosure: I loved the Paul McCartney show in 2010. At age 68, he rocked the house. Best show I ever saw. But, again, I wouldn't have helped vote $250 million for Paul McCartney either. Meanwhile, the Sonics are now the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Atlanta's Thrashers are now the Winnipeg Jets. Wait, we got scooped by OKC and Winnipeg?

"We're fine without one [anchor tenant]," Leiweke repeated, "and we probably make more money without one."

If that isn't an indication of AEG's true intentions, I don't know what is. Make money, sure? Just don't lie to us how you're going to make it. We're no closer to being a better major-league town than we were when the first shovel was stuck in the ground for Sprint. Well, unless you can't wait to see Jeff Dunham, Monster Jam and something called Nuclear Cowboyz.

It was a great night for the Kansas City hockey community on Tuesday. They got out there and sold a lot of tickets. The announced attendance of 17,779 was the most ever to watch hockey in our town.

However, it was a horrible night for the Sprint Center. When the puck dropped there were still thousands of people outside waiting to get in. Sprint/AEG apparently hasn't figured out that it needs to open more doors when there are a lot of people outside. There was literally more room marked off for smokers outside than there were for people with tickets waiting to get in.

Also, at a sold out event it might be a good idea to open all the concession stands. I missed half the game waiting in line with my son for food. At least the game presentation was good. The first period intermission featured a commercial for the 2012 Camry. One was driven on the ice, in case you didn't get that Toyota was a sponsor.

A wing-eating contest was being shown on the big screen during a face-off. The public address announcer didn't know the names of players as he was announcing goals.

I still would say the Kansas City deserves the NHL or NBA. But after the frustration of these four years, the question has changed. Does Kansas City deserve AEG?



Since: Feb 2, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:42 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

How is this sports news to anyone outside KC? I like KC but no one outside its general area gives f*** about this.

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 5:45 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

Why not set up their own, new franchise in conjunction with the Chiefs and Royals, to appease the frustrations. It would cost alot but having a franchise would pay for itself with the fans that are already in KC.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:19 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

You already had Simon Nolet and the Kansas City Scouts. 2nd chance? I don't know, the Atlanta Flames got one and that didn't go so well.
Quebec City and the Nordiques should get a team again before KC.
Break ground on the new building and I think the Nords return. My guess is Bettman holding on to Phoenix as long as he can because right now, there's currently nowhere the Coyotes can move. Seattle and Quebec don't have arenas, Houston doesn't seem to want a team anymore, KC doesn't have the money, Winnipeg already got its team and Hamilton is too close to Toronto and Buffalo (and can't support a team anyway).

As soon as the shovels hit the ground in Quebec City, though, all of that changes. If a new arena is on the way, not just being planned but tangibly on the way, Bettman can reasonably hand Phoenix a deadline. If they meet it, fine, the Coyotes stay in Glendale.

If don't meet it, Bettman can announce, "We gave it our best effort in Arizona, but the reality is that after several attempts, there was nobody left to buy the Coyotes. Therefore, they will be relocating to Quebec City in time for the 2013-14 NHL season. The new Quebec franchise will play for two seasons at the Colisee Pepsi before moving into the new Quebecor Arena at the start of the 2015-16 NHL season. We are disappointed that things couldn't be worked out in Phoenix, but delighted to welcome Quebec City back to the NHL."

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:06 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

Dodd's foolishness aside, can Kansas City really support a fourth team? According to a BizJournals study last month, Kansas City is already the fifth-most overstretched sports market in the U.S. and Canada and is $52 billion short of being able to support its teams. Add an NBA or NHL team and Kansas City passes Denver for No. 1 and is pushing $90 billion short of what its teams need. Worse, that study didn't even account for what KC residents spend on KU, K-State and Missouri.

There's a reason Kansas City's NBA team and NHL team failed, and it wasn't Kemper Arena.

Since: Jan 25, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2011 12:50 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

You already had Simon Nolet and the Kansas City Scouts. 2nd chance? I don't know, the Atlanta Flames got one and that didn't go so well.
Quebec City and the Nordiques should get a team again before KC.

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:10 am

We've been duped here in Kansas City

People in KC are also being duped that they have an NFL and an MLB team.

Since: Sep 7, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:57 am

We've been duped here in Kansas City


Since: Aug 31, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 10:19 am

We've been duped here in Kansas City

If you can have a town big enough for a football and baseball team, it is plenty big enough to hold a NBA or NHL franchise.  Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the funnest crowds in the NBA.  They are rockin every night and don't seem to be slowing down.  I am offended by saying that KC is chiefs and jayhawks town.  The Chiefs are and always will be popular but the Jayhawks are only good at basketball and there are a bunch of fair weather fans at their other sports. I hope KC gets an NBA team because it'd be great to watch them, but either way, they got screwed. 

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2011 9:31 am

We've been duped here in Kansas City

It's because your football fans are such arseholes that no other sports franchise wants to come to your cowtown.  Simple.

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:54 pm

We've been duped here in Kansas City

What doesnt this city have?

Anything fun to do.

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