Josh and I had a few minutes this morning to discuss the latest rumors that English Premier side Wigan is after Sporting KC midfielder Roger Espinoza. Basically, Wigan is looking to make a deal ($$) for Espinoza during the English transfer window and get dibs on him before he becomes a free agent at the end of this MLS season.
Josh: I’m torn. I think it’s a good opportunity for Roger to go play for that caliber of team, and a chance for SKC to get some major cash in return. However, I don’t think they can win the cup without him either.
Mike: I don’t think they can win the cup without him either. We saw how much the midfield struggled when he was out on Olympic duty. This is a pretty delicate situation to fans. In a town where our football and baseball teams are constantly at the lowest payroll possible, we finally have a contender on our hands and would be damaging our chances greatly by accepting a transfer fee for him now.
The options on the table are: accept a transfer fee (speculated to be in the $1-1.5 million range) and lose him now, or all but definitely lose him at the end of the season for no compensation, as he is a free agent. The third and least likely scenario is to sign him to an extension inKansas City. You figure he would command Designated Player-type money in that case.
All that said, if he wants to play in the Premier League, and Wigan truly does want him, there’s nothing stopping him from going either now or in November when the season is over. And like you said, who could blame him? And who is Sporting Kansas City to deny him that opportunity if that’s truly what he wants? It’s the pinnacle of the profession. Nobody that is truly competitive and wants to make at the highest level is going to settle for a “comfortable” situation in this case.
I believe that Robb means what he says when he says he’ll do everything in his power to keep Roger. That’s the part that makes me think that they’ll at least attempt to make him a DP and keep him. Thinking marginally, why WOULDN’T you? We don’t currently have a DP, and have certainly done worse with DP’s in the past (Jeferson comes to mind).
Josh: Good point. I guess keeping him could go both ways
Mike: Assuming signing him as a DP isn’t an option, you have to weigh your options. How do you quantify the POSSIBILITY that you could win a cup if you keep him? It’s a huge gamble. If you win the cup and he goes toEuropewith no compensation to SKC/MLS, then you’d say it was definitely worth it because we got the cup. If they keep him and don’t win the cup, they they’re missing out on over a million bucks.
You’d think that would be the worst case scenario, but I’m not so sure even THAT would be the worst case. The worst case scenario could be the fallout with fans in KC who see yet another local franchise selling off their premium talent for a payday.
Mike: Let me ask you this- if SKC was offered $1.1 million transfer fee for Espinoza and we took it, how would that impact your feelings towards the front office and the direction of the team? Or would it?
Josh: As a fan, I’d be disappointed just b/c I don’t think they can win the cup without him. I don’t think it would change my feelings toward the front office much b/c they’ve made nothing but good decisions, so given that premise i would have to assume this is a good one too. It’s a tough call to make in a short amount of time.
Mike: So if it were up to you, what would you do?
Josh: Best case would be do the deal, and like you said, never let him leave the KC and bring him back as a DP. What would you do?
Mike: That’s a tough one. How much does Teal’s injury affect our chances with or without Roger? If we think that Teal’s ACL screws us (which I don’t), you sell now. If we think we have a chance to win the whole thing this year, we gotta hold on to him whether he leaves after the season or not.
Look at it this way- no matter what they do, it’s a net positive. We either have a chance to win the whole thing or get a ton of cash for him. But this team isn’t building for the future, it’s trying to win NOW. Selling Roger off at this point in the season goes against everything they’ve set up for themselves this year.
I think even if you hold on to him and lose him for nothing after the season, whether you win the cup or not, it will be a goodwill gesture towards the club’s supporters and reinforce everyone’s belief that winning is the number one priority here. If you win, the money will be there. I think they’ve already seen that.
Josh: I don’t think Teal’s injury hurts us either. I think Sapong will do just fine, and I think he’s proved that. I think this is probably one of the team’s best opportunities to win the whole thing. As a fan I’d be really disappointed if he left.
Mike: I’m the same way. I’d prefer them to hang on to Roger, even if they let him go for nothing at the end of the season. I think Roger would at least consider that alternative and be ok with it. Otherwise, if he makes it clear that he’s done (at least for now) in the MLS and he wants out now while his stock is high, that’s the thing to do. Sporting KC gets paid, everyone walks away grateful for what the other side brought to the table while it lasted.
For the second time in two weeks, Sporting KC will have a home friendly vs. a European team in pre-season training (tonight vs. Stoke City of the English Premier League). Mix those games in with MLS play, US Open Cup play, injuries, All-Star selections, and international duty, and you’ve got all the makings of, well… a boring match.
Newcastle United came to Livestrong last year and played Sporting to a conservative yawner of a 0-0 draw. SKC was a little more rested and able to play a few more starters in this match, which held interest to the fans.
Against Montpellier last week, Sporting had no choice but to field their reserve team against the French club champions. The result was a 3-0 Montpellier win, and could have been worse. Sporting never mustered a shot on goal. It was also pretty brutal to watch, which raises the question- is it worth having a friendly in the middle of all these other important matches? There are plenty of arguments on both sides:
1. Provides incentive for MLS players, who inherently have a bit of a chip on their shoulder when it comes to what they’re doing vs. playing in, say, the EPL, a chance to show that they can compete with guys in the best league in the world.
2. Gives fans a chance to see international club teams that they would otherwise be unable to see.
3. In yet another gesture of extreme coolness, SKC throws in tickets to a lot of these friendlies for no additional cost to season ticket holders. This act of stewardship towards its fans is the hallmark of SKC’s front office.
4. Fans get an opportunity to see younger players and/or those on the reserve squad. I’ve gotten MUCH more familiar with those guys in friendly and early-stage USOC play.
5. Visiting squads typically put on soccer clinics for local youth, further growing the game in our community.
6. Maybe, just maybe there is a guy or two on the visiting squad thinking about a move to the MLS. Sporting KC has a much better shot landing a guy like that, if they want him, if he’s been to town already. What we have in KC is pretty special.
1. When the perfect storm hits, these things just aren’t at all convenient. Short handed, injured, tired, and in-between multiple meaningful matches, Sporting can’t afford any further injuries or to wear out the guys who are healthy and in town. Which means? More reserves at the Stoke City game. Which means? Less interest from the fans.
2. Fans of Sporting KC, on average, are more intelligent about the team and the game than they were, say 5 years ago. SKC fans don’t necessarily need an EPL team coming to town to get them excited about coming out (as seen in all of the MLS home games this year). The Chivas game last year was probably the exception, but mostly because half of the stands were full with Chivas fans.
3. A lot of Sporting fans will tell you that if they wanted to see the reserve squad play, they’d come out to a MLS reserve match.
4. The quality of play, in addition to the lack of implications that go with the match, really dampen the overall interest (unless you’re bringing in Man. U, Barca, etc. The REALLY big teams. And yes, I know Man U came to town a couple years ago and it was awesome. That’s not what this post is about.).
Overall, I think that the friendlies are a great idea, and we’ve picked out several reasons why. As for the other points against the friendlies, perhaps that illustrates why it would be a good idea to limit the number of mid-season international friendlies to one.
One last thought- think about how busy Sporting has been this summer, and think about how much crazier 2013 would be if it were playing in the CONCACAF Champions League? That would undoubtedly take the place of at least one friendly, and the interest in a Champions League match and a match against, say, Swansea City would be night and day.
Matt Besler (left) won’t have Aurelien Collin along side Saturday night vs. Columbus
Sporting KC will have another chance at three points Saturday vs. Columbus, but they’ll have to do it without Aurelien Collin (fractured facial bones at MLS All-Star game) and Roger Espinoza (Olympic duty for his native Honduras).
It appears that SKC has their work cut out for them. Oddly, the Wiz hasn’t scored in their past 3 MLS matches at Livestrong Sporting Park, going 0-1-2 in that stretch. Luckily, Sporting’s defense hasn’t given up much at home all year, including this little dry spell. Mix an offensive dry spell with the absence of arguably your best mid and defender, and you’ve got a recipe for a tough 90 minutes.
Paulo Nagamura may get a look in the midfield in Espinoza’s absence. He has been serviceable, if undersized this year, including a nifty goal in US Open Cup play. It will be interesting to see if Julio Cesar makes his MLS return on Saturday- after being absent the past month or so (speculation from the Kansas City Star suggests that he may have been passed up on the depth chart). Cesar saw plenty of action with the reserve squad in Sporting’s 0-3 whitewash of a friendly vs. Montpellier.
The story of the Petersons this year, that is, Jacob Peterson (forward) and Peterson Joseph (midfield), have been opposite, yet both have been seeing more playing time with absences and injuries. Jacob Peterson filled in admirably as Bobby Convey was out injured, and I can’t imagine he’s done anything to suggest he won’t be in the lineup Saturday even as Convey has returned.
Peterson Joseph, like Jacob Peterson (you tired of the Petersons yet??), has received most of his playing time due to injury and other obligations. I’ll be honest- I hadn’t paid much attention to his play prior to the Montpellier match. He was one of the most familiar names on the field for Sporting, yet he was the biggest liability. He was undersized, indecisive, and when he did make decisions, they rarely played out as anything other than a turnover. As depth continues to be an issue, I suspect he’ll see the field more in MLS play. Let’s hope he’s more on the serviceable side than the liability side going forward.
As for Columbus, they turned around and won two matches after falling to SKC in Ohio a couple weeks ago. DC United left Columbus with a 1-0 defeat, and then Tuesday night the Crew took down Stoke City 2-1 in a friendly, also in Columbus (so there’s the bar for our friendly with Stoke City, eh?).
Point being, Columbus is playing well right now. Sporting KC is hurt and short-handed. The Montpellier match showed us, more than anything else, that there’s a HUGE disparity between the first 11 and the reserve 11. Sporting is one point behind Eastern division-leading New York, who will be at Montreal Saturday night. The Crew is 12 points behind SKC and would love to get back in the mix with an important road win. Their home win vs. DC United is a big confidence boost, but it’s not easy to play at LSP.
A draw does very little for both teams, but that’s what I see playing out here. Both teams struggle offensively, and Sporting’s patchwork defense breaks down to allow an equalizer late.
SideshowKC prediction: Sporting Kansas City 1 – 1 Columbus Crew
Back in the saddle….
June 26, 2012 by
We’re back! Our issues with our ISP have been worked out (as in… we have a new one). We will be back-filling old content as we go. There is a bit up already. Our focus going forward will be new content, though. We’ll add the old stuff back in as we can.
I’m gonna break down the foul ball process at games, and you tell me what’s wrong here.
- A guy like you or me buys a ticket to go to a baseball game.
- Let’s say we forgot our glove. You may have forgotten, but I forgot on purpose. I’m not seven. If that offends you, get over it.
- You get the pleasure of sitting next to a lovely family of 4 with cotton-candy demanding, chair kicking, drink-spilling little bastards sitting right next to you. But hey, it’s the ballpark. You never know who you’ll get stuck by.
- CRACK! Here comes a foul ball into the stands. The little turds next to you duck for cover under their mom’s chunky thunder thighs, the old lady in front bails faster than she’s moved in years, and you’re left battling with a couple other brave souls for the ball.
- In the end, you manage to come up with the ball. You fought like hell, did some questionable things at the bottom of the pile, but dammit, it’s yours.
- The little 5-year old marriage-saver next to you holds his hands out like he freaking owns it already and says “I’m a kid, I can have it right?”
PAUSE. Obviously everyone around you is watching to see if you give the little kid the ball. What do you do? You gotta answer that for yourself. But let it be documented that I will stand and applaud if you tell that little kid to catch his own damn ball next time. Of course you’ll get boo’ed. People will heckle you, call you a bad person, etc. But you know what? You caught the ball, sitting in the seat that you paid for with your own money. Guess that makes this little tequila trophy 0-2. He can’t quit bitching about wanting a malt cup, let alone tell you who even HIT the foul ball.
I’ve absolutely had it with little kids who think that they are owed a foul ball just for showing up. It’s a growing trend, and we as adults have to do something to stop it. Now, if you’re someone who has already caught enough for your own personal satisfaction, then give it to whoever you want. Kid or not. But it never fails, even on TV you’ll see some dude make an amazing beer-saving one-handed grab, ripping off two fingernails and taking out half of a row to do it. Then IMMEDIATELY at least three kids start sprinting down the aisle with their greasy, cheesy little hands out like they deserve the ball.
And you parents who encourage your kids to run down there and get a sympathy ball- I’m watching you. If you want to get a sympathy ball from a player, knock yourself out. But from another fan? Have you no shame? Have you no sack? If I ever have kids, I may use them for a lot of things, but a cheap foul ball isn’t one of them. I would look at that foul ball for the rest of my life and know that I didn’t really deserve it, and that would take away all of it’s sentimental value.
I actually had a foul ball in my hand. Once. At spring training. 2009. Some dude literally grabbed it out of my hand and raised it up like he won the lottery. I said (and I quote), “Dude, are you f***ing serious?”. The people around us saw what happened and started booing the guy. Then you know what that he did? He played the lowest card he could think of. He goes, “Hey, I have a 5-year old at home!” And the crowd collectively let out a “Oh, we didn’t know, sorry.” And that was the end of it.
Next time, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m going to take it back from him and tell him that I have a 2-year old with MRSA, three toes and a missing chromosome. Now give me the damn ball.
You hear it from Kansas fans, Kansas State fans, even Missouri fans. Really, you hear it from anyone living in or around Kansas City. Mizzou is the bad guy, and the bad guy is taking away sports as we know it in our town. Or at least that’s the message.
The Big 12 Tournament, regularly hosted in Kansas City at the Sprint Center, will see a heavier rotation in Oklahoma City and Dallas. The MU-KU football game, if it continues, will have a diminished meaning because there will be no conference implications.
There’s only one problem with all of these Kansas City-tinted doomsday scenarios: nobody has bothered to think about the opportunities it creates for our town, except Missouri. Everyone else is too busy whining.
Following the Board of Curators meeting earlier this month at UMKC, Brady Deaton announced that MU would look to host a holiday basketball tournament in Kansas City annually. In addition, Mizzou would look to schedule a football game in Kansas City vs. a “regional rival”. Point being, Mizzou has made it a point, at least publicly, to emphasize that there will be a MU presence in KC after they bolt for the SEC.
What’s interesting is the way Mizzou set themselves up for departure, especially as it relates to KC and its soon-to-be-former Big 12 rivals. The announcement from UMKC’s campus was essentially Mizzou saying, “If we leave (and we will), and KU/KSU/anyone else over here doesn’t want to schedule us, it won’t be our fault.” How have others reacted to the news? With indifference or worse.
Bill Self isn’t so sure he even wants to play Mizzou if (when) the SEC deal goes final. Now, Bill Self owes nothing to Kansas City. He does, however, have a ton of people in this town who would like to see his Jayhawks play Missouri on a fairly regular basis. Same with Frank Martin. I think we can agree on that. Those that disagree? I would suggest that you count to 10 and re-think your stance. To pass up a chance to play Missouri, either at a neutral site in KC or in Lawrence/Manhattan with a return trip to Columbia the next year, is literally and figuratively the equivalent of having someone take a quarter from your stash of 4, so you toss the other 3 out the window in a spiteful rage.
The promise to play a “regional rival” in KC on the gridiron is exciting. I can’t tell you how stoked I would be to see Nebraska come to Arrowhead to play Mizzou every now and then. The money would be there for both schools involved, be it Nebraska, Kansas, KSU, or even someone like Iowa. It makes a lot of sense for Mizzou to try to get that done.
Let’s take it one step further- a matchup I’d LOVE to see this year is Kansas State vs. Arkansas at Arrowhead. With a bigger SEC presence in Kansas City, the odds of that happening now are WAY better than they would have been otherwise. See? There are opportunities here.
I don’t think Mizzou will be the problem when it comes to hosting events in Kansas City. It will be up to the other schools to play along in order for Kansas City to come out of this a winner as a sports town. In the end, I think cooler heads will prevail with this post-conference-realignment mess. The demand for some old-Big-12 matchups will be there, which means the money will be there, which means the schools will be on board. Getting your panties in a wad because you’re mad at Missouri is bad for Kansas City.
So, Kansas City, let’s suck it up and let’s figure out how to create some cool new events in town with the same ingredients we’ve always had and always will. These schools aren’t suddenly 500 miles further from each other. There is no good excuse for not making the most of the new landscape, conference affiliation be damned.
Prior to the race this weekend, the driver and SKC will get to enjoy a unique opportunity to experience each other’s sports. Before Buescher heads to the track Thursday Oct. 6th, he’ll join the club for a practice session. Turner Motorsports will then return the favor allowing several of the club’s members to join Buescher’s crew in the pits at the race.
This is just another innovative idea Sporting KC is using brand their selves and set them apart from really any other major league sports organization. They continue to come up with fresh, new ideas to help their organization succeed. There’s not one SKC fan out there that does not believe this ownership group isn’t doing everything possible to support this club. It not only benefits our team, but the MLS as a whole.
Kansas Citians can only hope that this innovative and proactive thinking, in addition to amazing ownership support, will spread like a sickness to the other professional teams in this city.
Sporting Kansas City put on a fantastic display tonight. Everything about the evening is the essence of what the SKC ownership and President Robb are shooting for. Weather-wise, it was practically perfect for mid-June in KC. The stadium was absolutely ROCKING. Fox Soccer Channel was in the house. The team was coming off of a win at surging Dallas, it was the second Sporting Kansas City game ever at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, and to top it off, Sporting came out and put together a solid (shutout) victory tonight.
Sporting Kansas City 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes
The winning goal came in the 31st minute as Graham Zusi laid a perfect ball in front of the goal for a cutting C.J. Sapong foot past San Jose goal keeper Jon Busch. Sapong now has two goals on the year. It was the second consecutive game that SKC has scored from a set piece, and a trend that needs to continue as Sporting sorts out it’s offensive scheme.
Aurelien Collin was an absolute maniac. An enforcer. A headhunter. Aurelien the Headhunter. His duty was clear: shut down striker Steven Lenhart. This was no easy task, to be sure. Lenhart is a big fellow. Listed at 6’1″, 190 lbs, he plays much bigger, but is obscenely quick and dangerous. Collin was in his grill ALL night. The two mixed it up in the second half, trading yellow cards, and Lenhart showed clear frustration by throwing the ball after he earned a foul (and ultimately a yellow) in the SKC back third. I’m looking for Collin to be our shutdown guy. He’s clearly not afraid to get dirty, take a few for the team, and walk off the pitch a little beat up to shut down the other guys. He’s the blue-collar guy, and that kind of player goes over well in Kansas City. A tip of the cap, Aurelien the Headhunter.
In the waning minutes of the match, Sporting stayed on the attack for the most part, save for a couple late chances for San Jose. This was a great sign, as SKC was clearly looking to go up by two goals instead of just trying to hold on for the 1-0 win. What is it all the football jocks say? The best defense is a good offense. Same goes here. When SKC was attacking, San Jose was on their heels and not in any position to put the equalizer through the net.
Speaking of, how about Jimmy Nielsen? He had a clean sheet tonight, and Sporting has given up a total of two goals through their last five MLS matches. Jimmy had five saves but was only challenged twice on the night. No save-of-the-week opportunities for Nielsen, but that’s far from a bad thing in a shutout effort. The defense has truly stepped up.
I’m excited to see SKC find some offense in the midst of making a clear effort to step up defensively. The 1-0 loss to Seattle (brutal, by the way) was a good change of pace defensively, but in that match I felt like the team sacrificed offensive chances to defend their own goal. In the games since, they’ve learned how to limit scoring chances for the other team while adding a lot of pressure on the offensive end.
Things are looking up for Sporting, as they gain three points tonight and sit just one point behind 8th place New England and only three points behind 5th place DC United in the Eastern conference. Sporting has 9 points in their past five matches, which is second to only the Western Conference-leading LA Galaxy. They are the only team in the MLS who has won its past two matches.
After the game, the Cauldron and the rest of the supporters stand crowd gathered around the Fox Soccer Channel crew and made an absolute ruckus for the cameras as soccer-watching Americans got a glimpse of the coolest members club in the MLS full of Sporting die-hards chanting their asses off. Well played, Cauldron.
All in all, a great night for soccer in Kansas City, and a great win for Sporting Kansas City. See you at LSP next Saturday.
What a great opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park last night. SKC got damn near everything right. If I wasn’t already a season ticket holder, I would be today after going to the game last night. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler venue in sports, outside of maybe the Jerry dome in Dallas. It’s unbelievable. That being said, Josh and I did a little back-and-forth on what we thought of the experience. Here goes nothing:
Grading the stadium:
Mike: A+. There’s nothing about this stadium that isn’t the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.
Josh: A+. I think is gorgeous, state of the art, easy to get around in, I heard that the actual seating was great (Members stand has bleachers) b/c people thought the aisles were wider (unlike the sprint center). Video boards were awesome, and I thought it was cool that we had over $19K, but the staduim didn’t make it seem like that…it still felt intamate…if that makes sense.
Mike: A. It’s an all-inclusive sports bar for the members. What’s not to like? Lines were a bit long, but I expect that to resolve itself somewhat as everyone (workers included) get more used to the place.
Josh: A. I actually really like the culture they are making there. People really wanted to sit there but were getting turned away at the door. Does that suck? Yes…but it makes them want to be a part of that section even more, and you bet your ass they’re buying tickets in that section next time.
Mike: B+. Over 19,000 people showed up and it was as into a Wizards/SKC match as I’ve ever seen a crowd in KC. The members stand was loud and rowdy, but I was completely embarrassed that we threw several beer/water bottles onto the field on national TV at the first site of a bad call. That needs to change.
Josh: B+. I guess I wasn’t that embarrassed as you were about the throwing stuff on the field. I like the passion…but it could be shown in a different way I guess.
Mike: A-. Everyone was extremely helpful in finding seats, season ticket scarfs, etc. The only confusion seemed to be what to do with the Member cards. I thought we could have those swiped when we made a purchase to rack up points? Nobody seemed to know what was going on with those, but that’s one tiny quibble on a night when the staff got pretty much everything right from what I could tell.
Josh: I’ll go with A as well. I actually asked someone about it, and they said they were having some operational issues with the cards, so they just flat out weren’t working last night. Honest answer, so I appreciated it.
Mike: A. The first time is always the toughest, right? Once you figure out how to get there, it’s a great setup in that lot F is right across the stadium. It’s VERY tailgate friendly. Only minor complaint is that the members stand is on the opposite side of the stadium, but after tailgating I needed to work off a few calories anyway. No biggie.
Josh: A. Agreed…That’s the only complaint I had on that too. It would be nice, since there’s an actually members entrance to have the parking lot on that side. But…there’s not really any room over there, and I appreciate the tailgate friendly parking as well. You know us KCer’s and how we love our tailgating!
The cow man running around on the field:
Mike: D+. Kinda funny for a brief moment, but would have been much cooler at halftime. It totally interrupted the flow of the game, and we were in the Chicago half of the pitch when it happened. I was pretty annoyed with the guy by the time they caught him. Guess I’m showing my age. That stuff was funnier when I was 14.
Josh: C+. I wasn’t as annoyed by that. I thought it was kinda pretty funny, especailly when people were Mooooooooing instead of booooooing. He thought it was goal, and he took off…which would have been better. He should’ve paid a little more attention to make sure the goal was actually a goal, and the tackle was priceless. That fatass dude just crushed that poor dude.
Season ticket holder scarfs:
Josh: A. Freakin’ awesome.
Mike: A. Freakin’ awesome.
Mike: A+++++++++. Ida McBeth completely brought the house down. What a perfect choice to open the stadium with a KC legend with the perfect Kansas City voice.
The game itself:
Mike: C. It was pretty exciting. I thought we had a better attack than in games past and defended well. I thought we played better last night than in the previous 4 or 5 games, but we have to find a way to score. Last night needed to be 3 points, plain and simple.
Josh: C. I don’t want to say they didn’t play hard. I think they did. My whole thought about coming in to this game is they would be so amped that we’d destroy Chicago. I’m talking like by 2 or 3 goals. So as a fan, that was EXTREMELY disappointing.
Mike: A. It would have been an A+ if we left the stadium with 3 points. What a phenomenal place to play. Fans are going to want to watch games here, and word will quickly get out among the players about how cool this place is. Basketball players want to play for the Dallas Mavericks because they have a freakin gym on their airplane and their lockers have Playstations. I hope the same principle will apply here.
Josh: Totally agree. A.
Soooo… the Sprint Center is another year older and KC is no closer to having a NBA or NHL team.
Rumors have circulated about the Los Angeles Clippers, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders (see what I did there to the right?? eh???), and New Orleans Hornets all moving to KC. Some of the flirtations were just that (see: Mario in Pittsburgh).
Others are franchises that are seriously considering moving. The NHL owns the Phoenix Coyotes and could stand to benefit by selling them to a group that wanted to move the franchise to a new market. Same goes for the New Orleans Hornets, who are looking for new ownership while the NBA is writing their checks.
Last summer, a New York news station reported that KC was an option for the Islanders, who were having trouble getting a deal for a new arena completed. During the 2010-2011 campaign, the Islanders were DEAD LAST in home attendance at just over 11,000 per game. For comparison, the St. Louis Blues were 8th out of 30 teams with just over 19,000 fans per game.
I bring up attendance because I see attendance being a problem in KC as well. I’d personally rather have a NHL team here vs. a NBA team, but KC is a basketball town. This city has literally a million people that give more than a damn about the game of basketball. The Heat/Thunder game at the Sprint Center sold out (roughly 18,500). The Kings/Islanders game? Under 10K.
Kansas City can use its college basketball heritage to make a pro team a success. Kansas (and to a lesser extent, KSU and Mizzou) fans will nearly always have a reason to go to a game. Even if Lebron and DWade weren’t coming to town for that Heat/Thunder game, I PROMISE you the game would have still sold out. 1. It’s basketball, and people in KC like basketball. 2. Mario Chalmers plays for the Heat, and KU fans got a huge kick out of seeing him in a Heat uni, and 3. Kevin Durant is a superstar, AND he played at Texas, another Big 12 school.
The NBA has the star power that the NHL doesn’t. A NBA franchise has a WAY better chance at success than a NHL team. Kansas City has the Mavericks, which is perfect for this town. The Mavs can average about 5,000 fans per game no problem. It’s an affordable novelty to a lot of people, and a damn entertaining one. Imagine having to fork over $75-$100 for a ticket to a NHL game where the casual fan knows maybe two or three names. Now imagine forking over $100 for a ticket to see KC’s NBA team play against Kobe and the Lakers. Which one would YOU go to for that price?
Let’s go KC Hornets!