FC Kansas City to play to fewer seats, no football lines

Dan Lauletta January 8, 2014 160

KC fans rejoice. No football lines for Blues home games over the next two seasons.

FC Kansas City matches will accommodate fewer fans in 2014.  There will be fewer football lines as well.  The Blues announced Wednesday that they will play their home games on the campus of University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC.)  The agreement, which runs through the 2015 NWSL season, calls for FC Kansas City to expand Stanley H Durwood Stadium to about 3,200 for its capacity.  That is down about a thousand from the club’s impressive, 2013 average at Shawnee Mission North High School, but gone are the gaudy football lines that drew the ire of fans inside the stadium and out.

“We understand seating capacity is smaller than what our average attendance was last season,” FC Kansas City President, Brian Budzinski said in a statement.  “But we felt the move to a soccer-specific facility of this caliber was important for our fans’ game day experience and for the players on the field.”

FC Kansas City’s multi-year deal with Verizon Wireless is immune to venue changes and will continue.  The club will reference their home ground as Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium.  The stadium is located on the Missouri side of Kansas City, about five miles south of the Power and Light District.

“We are Kansas City’s professional women’s soccer team,” Budzinski said.  “We are excited to bring world class soccer to the campus of Kansas City’s university.”

 

  • Ashley

    i don’t like how they are moving farther away from the sporting kc stadium since they always have sell outs in their game so y move farther away from that area and plus getting to the games are going to be a pain if coming from the ks side

    • FCKCEvans

      I don’t like that it can only seat 3200, guess I better get season tickets. And Sporting and FC aren’t associated so they shouldn’t base venue decisions off that. The gameday experience will be 10x better and families can make a day of it by going to a game and then eating/shopping at P&L or the Plaza. It’s better than a football field and better than a suburb.

      • newsouth

        i don’t see a problem with the move. it’s just another univ with a half a$$ soccer stadium. the initial planes should have been for at least 4500, so they could get 4800 standing room. add harvard to the half a$$ list too. do douchebags operate sporting kc? how can’;t they work out a deal with this ladies team?

        • FCKCEvans

          I do agree with you on the Sporting KC front, it would be nice to get some interest from the current MLS champs. I think this venue is better than Harvard though, soccer specific and not giant, even if the location is better. Hopefully people talk about the amazing experience in a smaller/soccer stadium and that will get Sporting KC involved….

          • Boston Red

            It just shows all our Euro readers that any location for soccer here involves a ton of compromises. We have many stadiums the right size, but they are almost all high school football fields.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken, though few if any European ladies’ teams match the NWSL for attendances (even when you exclude Portland).

            The grid-iron marking are irritating but not a deal breaker. They could even make judging the off-side easier — does anyone know what the touch-judges think?

            The width of the field is more of a concern. Though a slightly smaller field helps the ladies’ game (cf NHL vs European rinks) it cant be too narrow, lest the game loses its shape.

        • Gerson22

          Yes, because a mid-major college SHOULD build a soccer stadium to seat at least 4500 people when NO WOMEN’S COLLEGE SOCCER TEAM COMES CLOSE TO AVERAGING THAT.

          • newsouth

            colleges have plenty of functions the field can be used for like fairs, concerts, booths, high school events etc throughout the year. no reason why there aren’t a couple of good 4-5k soccer stadiums under universities in the states when soccer is growing.
            .

          • Steglitz49

            Gerson’s point is well taken. I don’t see how you could build a aluminum bleacher stadium with a small electric scoreboard for less than $10,000,000 dollars, let alone if you want a Jumbotron as well.

            Red Bull arena, which seats 25,000 cost about $200m but that is a much bigger project, of course.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I can’t remember any of those things taking place on a soccer field (or a football field) in either high school or college.

            The reality is that the ONLY sports that have an audience in high school and college are football and men’s basketball. Women’s basketball gets some attendance numbers – usually due to giveaways or package deal ticket sales.

            The only spectators who ever attended the other sports were the parents of those participating. I say this as a former high school athlete, and someone who watched sports in college. Trust me, no one is going to those soccer games.

            And I can’t imagine using the stadium for anything besides a couple exhibition games like powderpuff or flag football, or a charity walk/run on the track that is in the stadium. It just isn’t done.

          • HappyBunny

            Your right women’s teams should get to use tax payer funded stadiums or get the city to build them one like the men’s teams!

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        I retained my season tickets from last year, but I wonder how they will transfer over. The biggest positive for me would be if there are more college-age and older spectators and fewer kids.

        For all I care, all the “families” can stay home, unless the kids are high school aged. Less running around the stands, not watching the game, and ear-piercing shrieks would be fine by me. Although, since it’s a school stadium, there STILL won’t be any alcohol sales. :(

        A crowd more like the average Sporting KC crowd would suit me just fine. ;-)

        Good call about the Plaza, though. Not the suburban wasteland surrounding SMNHS stadium. You can definitely make a day of it and turn the games into more of an event. Also, there’s Spin pizza, Minsky’s, Glace ice cream and other cool places in the UMKC neighborhood.

        • Silver Frost

          Local businesses rejoice! KC civic leaders ned to get behind this move. Sadly, FCKC is going to lose $100,000 a year in lost seating revenue.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Hopefully they can make up some of the lost revenue in additional sponsors.

          • Ben

            They can start soliciting local sponsors from the plaza even

        • Random

          Boston sold Beer when their games were at Harvard Stadium for WPS and are rumored to be planning to again.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I didn’t know that. Hmm….

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Just heard from a friend of mine that she was told that by a ticket rep, so YAY !! That’ll put some butts in seats. ;-)

          • kernel_thai

            Wouldnt anything to do with a liquor authority be more state laws?

    • John

      Isn’t the stadium always going to be on the opposite side f/ some fans and therefore more of a pain f/ them? Only solution is enough fan support f/ a team for each city. Bring a friend.

  • STT

    In a league that was meant to focus on sustainability, I think this is a HUGE step backwards, honestly.

    • FCKCEvans

      How so? Because ticket prices have to raised?

      • kernel_thai

        well they added a game so that offsets some of it.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      Why? Because they lose seating for 1.4 K fans? The benefits of a true soccer field far out weigh 1.4K fans. Better for the players, and everyone watching for the game to not be held at a HS stadium.

      • Boston Red

        Depends on a lot of factors, but dropping revenue isn’t usually a good move.

        • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

          Maybe the venue is cheaper for the team, so it offsets any lost revenue from the lower amount of fans. That and the fact that they can now charge a little bit more for the tickets since they will be in higher demand, which offsets a little more, means that really they may not be losing out on much if any revenue. maybe even earn a little more.

          • newsouth

            sponsors like behinds in seats, not less seats for behinds.

          • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

            True, but they like sellouts even more. Something that NEVER happened at the old hs stadium.

          • Ben

            Yup, just ask Boston who were notorious last year for touting their numerous sellouts at Dilboy.

            Another important question is, what is the alcohol policy at the old versus new venues. If the college campus allows alcohol, I say put one in the plus column as well.

          • KCJG

            Dry campus…unfortunately.

          • Ben

            Shucks. Well at least no football lines.
            With respect to the loss of attendance, I’m not sure how FCKC reported their attendance last season but if it was by purely butts in seats, they might not be losing much if you factor in the amount of discounts and unpaid attendance that is prevalent in the women’s game.
            Moving to a smaller stadium will allow them to build a core group of paying fans.

          • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

            ***Prevalent in all sports. Even the Buffalo Bills will get sponsors to buy 5k~ tickets to create a still very fake sell out.

          • Lorehead

            The NFL’s blackout policy forces those kind of shenanigans.

          • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

            Is that dry as in actually dry, or dry as in you can buy alcohol on campus? Because Rochester has a “dry” campus, but apparently the bar on campus grounds doesn’t count LMAO.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Yep, not only a dry campus, but you also don’t have the large attached parking lot for tailgating like the HS stadium had.

            Even though they didn’t sell alcohol at the venue, we were still allowed to tailgate before every game (with alcohol, a live band, promotions/giveaways, etc).

          • Rdalford

            touting sellouts in small stadium did not attract sponsors for Boston but did limit paid attendance revenue. Hopefully FCKC has some other arrangement (TV revenue, sponsors etc) in the works to cover loss in paid attendance so that this stadium decision makes business sense for FCKC owners.

          • Steglitz49

            Did Boston really have sell-outs? Real sell-outs? I remember two games with poor attendance, one on account of inclement weather and the other because of a competing activity. Boston Red would know.

          • Rdalford

            Dilboy seats approx 2500 (per wiki). The attendance numbers at Dilboy from box score stats were (2634, 3113, 1312, 2124, 2687, 2012, 1876, 2978, 3012, 2116). So 6 games >2500 in attendance and 5 games with less than 2500. The 3113 number is from the one game they were allowed to use the extra temp seats. The 2978 and 3012 numbers were games with Portland were they sold standing room tickets. So far as I know they reported actual attendance so 6 sellouts I guess.

          • Rdalford

            Apology for typo, failed to include 2899 attendance for 8/3 WNY vs Boston at Dilboy. 6 sellout count does include it.

          • Steglitz49

            Judging by your and Boston Reds descriptions the median attendances were above to official capacity which is a sell-out. (Who paid for the tickets is another matter.)

          • dylan

            Yeah—6 matches above the 2500. Kansas City SHOULD sell out the season with on 3200 capacity. They averaged 4626 last season, second only to Portland and only 1 match was under 3200.

          • Boston Red

            They were a little free & easy with the term “sell out” but they did come pretty close to capacity other than a couple of bad weather games. I was at the last game (2116) and it seemed more full than some of the bigger games, but they may have given away a lot of tickets to local college teams (I sat next to BC & the players didn’t know who Buehler was).

            The thing about Dilboy is it’s cheap… you & I could rent the field for a couple of hours for less than $100. Even with the extras they probably had to pay for, it was a deal, Obviously it kept the crowd down. Harvard will be expensive, but give more seating flexibility & a better location for some (the wagon loads of youth players won’t be as crazy about driving into “the city”). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 6-7k crowd they got after the WWC in 2011 (Morgan & Marta didn’t hurt), but it won’t have as intimate an atmosphere as Dilboy.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you sure the rent was so cheap? It seems exceptional. Is Dilboy a charitable trust and does women’s soccer count as some minority activity (like target shooting for the visually impaired)?

          • Boston Red

            Dilboy is owned by the Commonwealth of Mass, but now operated by the city of Somerville. The rate is slightly higher than other facilities, but check this out:

            Dilboy Stadium

            Permits (as well as lights & locker rooms) are available for
            football, soccer and track events. The stadium is available for $125/hr.

            I’m sure the Breakers pay for a bunch of other stuff, but you know they can’t get Harvard Stadium for anything close to this rate.

          • Steglitz49

            Thus, 4h would $500. Vow! 25 spectators and the rent is covered. What do you think Harvard costs? $3000 perhaps?

          • Boston Red

            Well, the Breakers are renting the locker rooms and lights and I’m sure a bunch of other charges, but even at 5x, that’s a decent deal. Harvard Stadium has to cost a lot more than $3k. For example, Toyota Park in Chicago was about 10x the cost of the Red Stars current facility.

          • Steglitz49

            Just after the Shewolves won the Champions League, VW announced that they were building the ladies team a new stadium and training arena for about 24m€ ($32m). The 5,200 spectators stadium is expected to be ready this summer, have TV-compatible floodlights and an ultra-modern ground heating system. (It will be used by the men’s and ladies’ youth sides also.)

            It helps to have a committed mother-company.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Wow, that is crazy!

            I think Sporting Park wanted upwards of $20,000 per game to use the MLS stadium, hence why FCKC doesn’t play at sporting park. I know even the high school stadium rental is in the $1,000s.

          • Ben

            Which sponsors? The ones that have been missing for 4 years now after teams have been maintaining the status quo? Maybe it’s time to flip the script

          • Boston Red

            Verizon?

          • Ben

            The article said the contract was venue independent but one must think they must have cleared it with Verizon. My comment was more in reference to these elusive sponsors that haven’t signed on yet.

          • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

            Didn’t jump ship.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I doubt they raise ticket prices. Season tickets have already been sold. Last year’s prices were $15 for GA and $20 for assigned seats. Season tickets were $13/game for GA and $18/game for assigned seats.

            It’s a college stadium – college kids aren’t used to paying much for games. And I wouldn’t really think that a newer, fancier, college venue is cheaper than a high school one. But, who knows.

          • KCJG

            Season tickets actually haven’t been sold. I’m on the list, but I don’t even know the final price yet. And we have been told to expect a price increase from last year. I fully expect all prices to go up…but I might be wrong.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            The Ticket Rep I bought from last year is no longer w/the organization and my new Rep was incredibly unhelpful. I didn’t get any info regarding changes. I confirmed that I wanted to keep my season tickets back in October, but I haven’t heard anything from them since.

          • Steglitz49

            Bizarre. One would have thought that the golden rule is not to annoy established customers. This does not sound promising — but then last year’s successful coach is devoting himself to the men this season, which speaks volumes in the same key.

          • STT

            I HIGHLY doubt a nice college stadium is cheaper than an average HS stadium.

          • Ben

            Soccer versus football. My guess is a football stadium of a good size might be in demand more than a small soccer facility

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Well, considering the season is primarily during the summer, the only competition comes from the Women’s Pro Tackle football team that also plays at that stadium.

            In the fall, high school teams play only on Friday nights, so the NWSL games are scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays.

            And most high schools have their own football stadiums here, so… I don’t know, I’m not really aware of ANY of these fields being in demand.

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        You aren’t just losing 1,400 fans.
        You are losing 1,400 tickets @ $15 each.

        $21,000/game * 12 home games = $252,000 in lost revenue.
        And that doesn’t even count lost revenue from possible increased ticket sales over the previous year.

        • Steglitz49

          Hear hear!

        • Gerson22

          I love how you assume FCKC either didn’t do this math or did do the math and thought, “No, that’s totally fine.” You know, they actually have access to all the information. They actually make decisions based on what they know, not what random anonymous people on the internet think.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken but one is left with the impression that KC’s spiritual advisor and chief ideologist need to communicate their reasoning better to the fans. We are moving for these 3 reasons or some suchlike.

  • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

    I hate this decision. I was all for UMKC last year before the season started because it is a pretty facility and soccer specific, but was turned off by the low capacity.

    While atmosphere will be good, since every game should now be a sellout, fewer will be able to attend the games and the team is now losing $20,000+ in ticket sales at every game. That doesn’t make sense to me at all from a business standpoint.

    • Eric Bauer

      Well said.

    • http://www.rosecitysoccerpress.com/ Anthony Thurston

      You didn’t take into account that the venue is likely a bit cheaper for the team to use, AND that ticket prices will now likely increase due to the increased demand vs less seats. So in reality they may not be losing out on much if any revenue here.

      • STT

        There’s NO WAY a nice college stadium is cheaper than an average HS stadium. I doubt rent was even close to $20k/game at Shawnee, so it’d be impossible for ‘saved rent’ to make up for it at all.

        • FCKCEvans

          It wasn’t an average high school stadium. The HS field was in one of the most wealthy areas in or around KC. And 5 high schools share that field for football games but play elsewhere for soccer. UMKC gets a lot of benefit out of this too being associated with a professional team, I wonder if that brought down the price a bit.

          • kernel_thai

            I wonder who is paying for the additional seating. If it’s KC and the seating remains for UMKC to use, maybe they get a deal on the rent.

      • Steglitz49

        It seems that women’s soccer is price sensitive. It is not as immune to cost hikes as the men’s game is. I presume it has to do with disposable income or value for money or both, obviously.

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        Maybe, but let’s assume they would have averaged the same attendance numbers as last season. That’s a loss of $250,000.

        Now, let’s say that increased visibility, last year’s success, and this year’s MLS championship all lead to MORE interest in NWSL in Kansas City this year. At the old stadium, you could have sold 500, 1000, 2000 more tickets to each game.

        That puts potential losses at $500K up to $750,000. Personally, a Quarter Million, Half Million, Three Quarters of a Million Dollars is big losses for any business, much less a newly formed franchise.

        • newsouth

          and national sponsors look at total viewership as in behinds in seats, not what boston was pulling off last year. ok, you fill a 2500 seat stadium vs 5000 in a 15000 seat stadium. on a national scale it’s still about eyeballs. i know to those who said so they can pull a boston. maybe the whole league should do that. washington could just go back to 2500 a game and into the RED.

        • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

          You are creating numbers out of thin air. A billion profit is a lot more money. See what I just did?

    • Silver Frost

      I have to agree Slicey. The new venue has plastic turf, same as the old one. Seating is 850, not 3200. “An NCAA Division I artificial turf soccer field, 850-seat stadium, a
      recreational track and a team support facility with locker rooms.” It has a running track around it, further removing fans from the action. I hate fields like that.

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        Exactly! I have no idea where they’re getting 3,200 from! Not sure how you get more than 1,000 in there.

        My season tickets last year had a great view of the action. You’re right that the seats at UMKC are much higher and removed from the field.

        • Sydonia

          Bring small binoculars :)

        • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

          Sahlen Stadium can get about 2,000 extra seats into the stadium (at least) with removable bleachers. So depending on how much room they have to put bleachers they can do it easily with removable bleachers.

      • Steglitz49

        If 850 is correct that would place them 5th in the Swedish league of last season and 7th in the current German league.

        Maybe they can put chairs on the running track?

  • KCJG

    Wow, this surprises me quite a bit. I agree with both sides of the discussion: hard to lose revenue/seats; nice to have a soccer stadium to call home. Glad I got on the season ticket list early this year. I am just afraid this is going to alienate some fans. Am I wrong about that?

    • Steglitz49

      If you sit on the fnece you can hardly be wrong, though it might hurt.

      • KCJG

        Might hurt? Good decisiveness there yourself. And thanks, that’s very helpful and insightful feedback. Glad you took the trouble to post it. I think. Maybe.

        • Steglitz49

          I have been accused of many things on this forum but being logical is not one of them.

          There are usually more than one factor behind these moves that do not seem obvious let alone logical, and all the facts may never emerge. I seem to remember complaints about the quality of the playing surface at KC — home ground advantage with a vengeance. In any case, let’s trust they can fill the ground to overflowing.

          Do you think the grid-iron lines help with judging the off-side?

          • KCJG

            I too recall hearing complaints about the playing surface. I suspect that is at least a partial consideration. If television revenues are in the picture, then that could change the entire landscape dramatically. As Slicey has posted though, I fully expected attendance to increase this season. Maybe Budzinski will have more to say about the issue. And if he doesn’t, maybe I’ll ask him.

            Your logic isn’t the only one I question today. ;)

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            It’s absolutely a better field (though not grass) with better facilities (locker room/showers are atrocious at the HS). I’ve enjoyed watching college games there. It’s a pretty stadium with a nice view of the Plaza area, but the capacity sure is disappointing.

            The visiting teams will be happy, I’m sure. Much closer to the nightlife for when they get to go out after a game.

          • Harry Truman

            Seating is 850, not 3200. Plastic turf, just like the old place.

          • Steglitz49

            Bizarre.

          • KCJG

            Did you actually read the article, President Truman? Capacity to be expanded to 3200 during the season, as part of the agreement between FCKC and UMKC. Reading is FUNdamental!

          • Harry Truman

            FCKC will make $250,000 less on attendance at this new place, AND they are going to pay for 2500 extra seats. The owners failed business school.

          • Guest

            The ball moved like they were playing on cement and it got hot hot hot out there. Remember the game where they ran out of water for fans? Players will be happy for this move.

      • Boston Red

        Sitting on the fence is part of the FCKC plan to increase capacity at the new stadium.

  • VaFan51

    I know so very little about the econmics of this or any other league. For example: what proportion of revenues comes from hindquarters in seats? It’s pretty much impossible to develop incrementally by moving from 3K seats to 6K seats to 10K seats, etc. — a convenient range of variously-sized local venues is just not available.
    Is profitable broadcasting/streaming with competitive advertisers the key? In which case, the number of seats in a stadium is much less important.
    Is funding from soccer federations the key? How much more could they do (other than take half of Klinsmann’s salary)?
    It is so painful for me to read of the financial side of things for individual players. It is astonishing that they have so much passion for the game when they receive so little reward for it. As a fan, I wish I could do more to support them.

    • Guest

      Not much more they can do for players while they have a 200k salary cap. At least KC found a better quality field for theirs. Last year players were cooking alive and a few got hurt plus. This was a player friendly move.

      The cap is low to keep things from getting out of control like in the WPS days. Hopefully it gets raised a little in following years. Meanwhile breaking even is a team’s goal and most aren’t even there yet.

    • Steglitz49

      It is a strange but general observation that women playing team games, except possibly beach volleyball, do not get the financial remuneration that they deserve, and nowhere near the earnings of tennis players and golfers, or for that matter those in the ski disciplines, be they alpine, X-country of shooting (biathlon).

      What is really odd is that the US, which has been such a leading light of ladies soccer, have not yet broken through the solvency barrier. Admittedly, if it does not work in the US it (probably) won’t work anywhere but some of the European countries can carry on being subsidized by their men’s organizations.

      • Gloria S.

        “ladies soccer”? What’s that? I’ve heard of women’s football leagues, but not ladies soccer.

        • Steglitz49

          Would you prefer that they played “lingerie soccer” in the hope of pulling in the punters? It is Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool Ladies FC.

          In the light of the old saying that “rugby is a game for thugs played by gentlemen while soccer is a game for gentlemen played by thugs”, it could be “butch soccer” to be consistent, though I doubt that such a descriptor would catch on somehow.

  • wosofan

    Great move. Far better to have consistently-filled stadium and nicer experience for those fans who attend the game and watch on television. Indeed, I bet FCKC now gets a match or two on Fox Soccer — which is something they missed on last year, due to the horrible football lines.

  • newsouth

    Will missy geha still do the casts?

    • Pressured

      That’s my most important question too.

  • Rdalford

    Soccer specific stadium what type of playing surface?

    From business angle not sure how losing 1.4K paying customers and paying to upgrade stadium from current 850 seats to 3,200 works out.

    • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

      I couldn’t hear the announcement, so I wasn’t sure how they were going to get 3,200 seats out of the 800 seat facility.

      I don’t know much about stadium upgrades or stadium changes between events, but I’m very curious about how this will proceed.

    • Sydonia

      If they are installing aluminum butt numbing benches, why not go to 5,000 capacity? The deal is only for 2 years. Who the heck is pauying for this upgrade for only 2 years?

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        I wonder if they’ll invite all the current season ticket holders out to check out the stadium.

        I loved my seat location last year. :(

        • Sydonia

          Call them up and demand center field. Season ticket holders deserve priority.

          • Ron Bishop

            All depends on what you want to see. In the FCKC photo, they show new seating behind the northern goal – ala Members Section at Sporting Park. Lots of fans enjoy the action from there – “How many goals do you see scored from midfield?”

            This wasn’t an option at SMS.

            I agree about STHs. Always reward the fans you already have!

    • Steglitz49

      Maybe you bring your own chair and sit on the running track?

      • Sydonia

        Or a blanket like MD Soccerplex.

    • treehill

      From a business angle I don’t think they’re worried about immediate revenue from tickets anymore, they’re focusing on future growth of the fanbase and sponsorship. Yeah you might have a couple thousand more ticket sales in the high school football stadium, but you probably stagnate- you won’t win any new fans. Having a better product to sell on TV, online, and in person should generate more excitement and sponsors and hopefully will eventually lead to a real stadium.

      • Rdalford

        I do hope FCKC succeeds and gains sponsors etc. FCKC played an interesting and effective style and they have a nice mix of veteran and exciting young players. I traveled to KC and watched one game last year – nice crowd but agree field was hot and tough on players. May not be able to travel this year but my online viewing should be better.

        • Steglitz49

          A travelllng fan. Vow! No offence mate but you must be as rare as hen’s teeth. In Europe it is said that only Potsdam and Tyresö (and maybe Frankfurt) have those.

          That is one reason why many hope the Champions League final will be between those two clubs (and that they are not subsidized by wealthy men’s teams but kept by their fans — a sort of nostalgia quotient).

          • Stay Pressed

            That’s a load of crap Steg.
            There’s plenty of teams that have fans travel from all over to see them.

          • Steglitz49

            It would be interesting to learn what the actuality if not reality is.

            In Europe travelling fans are rare and distances are short. The obvious exception was the Champions League final in 2012 when the Olympic stadium in Munich was full (50,000 spectators) but those teams were within driving distance of Munich. Although the Champions League final last season in London had 50% more than last time it was in London, nevertheless at 19,000 spectators Chelsea´s ground which seats 42,000 was less than half full.

            I assume it is a question of cost. Women’s soccer fans do not have the disposable income that men who go to sporting events do.

          • Stay Pressed

            “I assume it is a question of cost. Women’s soccer fans do not have the disposable income that men who go to sporting events do.”

            Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

          • Steglitz49

            Thus women’s pro-soccer must plan and strategize accordingly.

      • Lorehead

        In the short term, even if they created a much better game-day experience, they wouldn’t profit from it because they can’t sell more tickets. Maybe it’ll cultivate a few thousand hard-core fans who’ll buy season tickets to Sporting Park a few years from now, though.

        At the same time, this is going to make the players much happier and make the team look more respectable. The unstated subtext of what’s going on with the NWSL draft, and before that the allocations and trades, is that, whatever you do to try to ensure parity, you can’t really keep talent if it doesn’t want to work for you. Portland and Western New York were so successful at retaining their players because those are teams that women want to play for. This move makes FCKC a better team to play for.

    • Lorehead

      Mondoturf. There’s apparently a Serie B men’s team in Italy that plays on something similar, and AS Roma used it for a practice field for youth players. Big upgrade from Shawnee Mission High School’s American football field.

      • Rdalford

        Thanks for the info.

  • Fin

    Its nice that they can play on a true Soccer field, but its too bad they couldn’t add enough seats to get to 4000 or so.

  • FCKCEvans

    All I know is that when I was promoting the team last year and trying to get my adult co-workers interested, I lost them as soon as I said FCKC played on a high school football stadium. No matter how good the team was KC had NO credibility at the old high school stadium. I think this is a better move to have the team be taken seriously by adults and look more like a professional team.
    Additionally, the women’s soccer coach at UMKC has a lot of weight in the KC area. He will be a great promoter of the team. All in all, there are some flaws with this move but I think the positives outweigh the negatives. And i’m sure the owner has addressed the loss of revenue concerns we’ve discussed and must see some benefits.

    • treehill

      I agree, professionalism is the key especially for marketing to new fans. You can talk about having world class athletes all you want but when they see those gridlines it just looks amateur.

      I think this is a good move for FCKC. In a case like Boston, if you’re a struggling team that’s unsure about its fanbase, you want to maximize revenue and butts-in-seats right now. So I can see why they tolerate the gridlines in moving to Harvard. But FCKC doesn’t have to worry about that, they’re onto the next step of growing the fanbase, with the future goal of moving to an MLS-level stadium. Moving to this soccer-specific field they can now sell a professional-looking product on TV and online which will do way more to generate interest and excitement than before.

      • Boston Red

        I’m not sure Boston was “struggling” in an attendance sense. Obviously the location was a turnoff for a part of the fan base, but they had similar turnout (with cheaper tix) in WPSLE the year prior. They averaged over 4k at Harvard in WPS — it’s just much more expensive to play there and there aren’t any other great options in the part of the metro area they want to play (only Tufts’ football field offers a better venue for play — and it’s grass, so they could avoid football lines for most of the season). But it may not have been an option or great from a parking perspective. The local HS football/soccer all share a handful of turf stadiums & no other area colleges really play football in a stadium.

        • treehill

          Wasn’t everyone saying FCKC had no other choice than Shawnee? Yet somehow they found Durwood in UM. The key is they had to make some creative compromises.

          You might be right, maybe the Breakers have absoutely no alternative. But doesn’t Boston have like 20 colleges in the area? When you say “no other colleges” are you absolutely sure about that? I think it’s possible the Breakers weren’t as creative or bold as KC in finding a solution, maybe because they can’t afford to be.

  • NYRick

    Tymrak is going to look so much better running free on this field.

    • Silver Frost

      Looks are deceiving. Second rate plastic turf is still s**t.

      • newsouth

        : )

      • Steglitz49

        If you write them a check, they no doubt will install the best that money can buy.

  • Ron Bishop

    I’ve been to several matches at both venues. There are pros and cons to each.

    There are less seats now – but I believe FCKC was always reporting tickets sold and not actual attendance. The old venue looked pretty vacant sometimes. They probably came to this decision based on STH renewal rate. My $25 STH seats weren’t really any better than the $15 GA seats at the old venue.

    The fans will be closer to pitch – more intimate experience. Definitely a soccer specific stadium. Still a turf pitch.

    There is a small section of actual stadium seats now. I’d say at least 2/3 of current seating is bleacher. 100% bleacher at old venue.

    If you’re on the first couple of rows at Durwood, EVERYONE will be walking in front of you to get to and from their seats.

    Less concessions and restrooms in Durwood stadium than SMS.

    As far as kids – I see the same ratio at Durwood as I do at SMS….

    I hope more evening matches. Most of UMKC’s matches are in the evening. (This more than anything probably determines the amount of kids. But if your kid wants to see Alex Morgan, you’re going to go where and when Alex Morgan is playing.)

    • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

      Thanks for the info. I haven’t been to many matches at UMKC, so it’s tough for me to compare. I didn’t even see consession stands when I was there. I know we had to park far away and walk further, but I’m not that familiar with UMKC campus, so maybe there is a parking lot that could be used for the stadium.

      I imagine a lot of the GA STHs didn’t renew because you could almost always buy scalped tickets at the gate for much less money. I kept my $20 season tickets because I want the same seats every time. And my seats last year were the best in the venue, in my opinion.

      • Ron Bishop

        Sorry, my STHs were the best in the venue – simply because they were where we wanted:) We’ve always enjoyed down low seating.

        We sat on the front row about 10 feet off midfield behind the Blues. At Durwood, however, we’ll move back/up the rows because everyone walks in at the bottom of the stands and that is the same level as the front row with nothing between the seats and where people walk.

        That’s always been something I really like about Sporting Park – you go from the top down.

        Parking in front of the Union on the east side shouldn’t be too bad.

        But I’m curious to see how this turns out and plan to heartily support the Blues in the new venue!

        PS – For the health conscious fan, one can watch the match from the exercise rooms as the run on treadmills three stories up:)

  • FCKCEvans

    All I know is that when I tried to promote FCKC to fellow adults, I lost ALL credibility when I told them KC plays at a high school football stadium.
    I know there are some significant cons to this move but I think it is a step up in professionalism, for the players, and for fan experience. I’m sure that the owner has thought through the ticket revenue concerns and believes that they can make up the money else where. Chris Cissell, the UMKC head coach is also a prominant figure in KC soccer with a lot of history. He will be a great promoter as well.

  • nwslfan

    Dear club owners, as a spectator to a pro sporting event, I want: (1) seats with a back; (2) not to boil on turf or baking sun; (3) access to beer or tailgating; (4) HD screen/jumbotron w kiss cam and replays; (4) nice field, and (5) not horrible food. I would also pay money for a cool hat or jersey or swag for me or my kids. the HD screen is surprisingly important for boring games like baseball and pro basketball. I look at HD screen a lot when I go to MLS games too. NWSL teams would HUGELY benefit from renting a HD screen and having a superb video production, with closeups and replays, for live stream and for live replay on a screen at the field. I expect to PAY for these amenities in my ticket price and concessions. I want to be entertained and have fun. Is this complicated to figure out and deliver??

    • http://www.phasedma.com Anthony

      Just make sure the (HD?) screen doesn’t look like it’s old broken analog TV from 1985 like it does in Rochester.

    • Steglitz49

      How much does a HD screen/jumbotron cost to rent?

      Meanwhile, look upon it as a step back in time (less than 50 years) when you stood at games and there was no action-replay. A nostalgia trip.

      I am told that in Japan (I don’t know if it is true) that after the game the players mingle with the crowd, sign autographs and have their pictures taken with the children. It can go on for hours. In the UK some teams sell deals where the girls can come to the dressing room before the match (not for the final pow-vow obviously) and so on and so forth. Women’s soccer is still at the ladies’ stage. Maybe the NWSL has moved beyond the grass roots, volunteer stage, into the sunny uplands of the men’s game.

      • Boston Red

        Almost all NWSL games feature the players signing autographs with the screaming fans (both teams often). The soccer media isn’t crazy about it because it means it takes that much longer to get access to the players.

      • nwslfan

        Philly Independence squad attended youth soccer events and gave out signed swag. youth clubs got to escort players onto the field for games. very accessible autograph sessions. Union players would come too and sign autographs at Indy games. I think nwsl players still accessible. DC now charging more for tix, but I’ll pay + beer garden and seat backs- just hate the long drive, and Spirit will be decent this year.

        • Steglitz49

          How much does a jumbotron (or HD screen) cost to rent?

          • nwslfan

            >$3k/ game

      • Guest

        What was your experience at a NWSL game you went to? Did you go to any? Any at all? Why would you make such disparaging statement when I doubt you know what happens after a game here at all. Every team does autographs and pictures, and many have VIP packages.

  • 12 ticket holder

    Folk, the owner are trying to sell seats vs give them away. Numbers from last year were not realistic. I would be happy to see a full stadium vs hearing a an attendance number an d look around and ask, where? This is a good move, except no alcohol sales. People just don’t understand what an outstanding value FC KC is; Olympic Gold, World Cup winners playing week in and week out for your pleasure. I can’t wait until the first game.

    • nwslfan

      true, but we don’t actually want value. we want to be entertained and comfortable and have fun w friends/family and we will pay for that. if we wanted value, we would watch on youtube…

      • Steglitz49

        entertainment = winning — and preferably with lots of goals but a 1-0 win is ok and a heck of a lot warmer than a 0-9 loss.

  • treehill

    Here’s the stadium on google maps. While I applaud the move, it looks like squeezing in 2300 new seats is going to be a neat trick. In the Boston thread people speculating about why not use Harvard’s Soldiers soccer field were saying it had no room for expansion; that field had open vistas around it compared to this one.

    One good thing is the track around it is not a normal 8 lane track, it’s a narrow 4 lane track.

    • Ben

      I wonder if moving the track is an option?

      • Harry Truman

        I wonder if not having parking is going to discourage fans.

        • Pete

          There is a 5,000 space parking garage that was just built. It’s right across the street from the stadium.

    • NYRick

      Interesting perspective. Thanks for posting. No way you get 2k unless of course you go completely around the entire playing field only 4-5 rows high. That would be strangely bizarre but kind of cool. It just would be expensive and really not feasible.

    • Sydonia

      The poor owners. They thought they did the right thing. I guess they are renting this out dirt cheap.

    • Ron Bishop

      Here’s the seating FC Kansas City seating chart. It looks doable.

      There’s a parking garage just to the west of the stadium, a parking lot to the northwest of the stadium in front of the Union, and more parking lots to the south.

      Now if a Plaza bar or even a P&L District was thinking, they might sponsor a park and ride from the Plaza or P&L.

      • Steglitz49

        Pray, what has the kangaroo (wallabie) to do with UMKC? I have heard of wild camels in central Australia but ‘roos in Kansas?

      • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

        No idea what seats I’m going to pick from these NINE seating sections.

        • Steglitz49

          Pick the cheapest?

        • Ron Bishop

          I talked with a ticket rep last evening. I compared my SKC season tickets to what the costs were for FCKC season tickets. FCKC is pretty proud of their stadium seating:) But it is what it is…
          To get the approximately the same seats (midfield) as at SMS would run about $50 a match ($20 a match at SMS). I will probably go with section 104 (not first two rows). I think it came out to about $16 a match. We get 5 seats.
          Will still have a great view of the pitch, back to any sunsets, on bench seats – with backs (no backs at SMS). Should be great!

          • nwslfan

            pick up portable seat backs at Dicks?

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Omg, $50?! That’s a little insane. Durwood is in no way comparable to watching a game from Sporting Park.

      • treehill

        Very interesting. If you can squeeze 2000+ seats in here you can squeeze them in anywhere. I think “no space to add seats” is almost never a valid excuse for Boston or Chicago rejecting real soccer fields. But the real reason is surely facilities.

        • Boston Red

          Well, you also need to have the owner of the facility okay with adding seats. Dilboy ended up being some kind of permitting issue (I wouldn’t be surprised if neighbors complained about parking). Harvard’s smaller soccer stadium really doesn’t have the space for a lot more seating than they already had at Dilboy.

          • treehill

            Well I’m beating a dead horse but if you look at picture of Soldiers Field like in the post below (which I think you have) it’s got tons more space than Durwood.

            http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/breakers-stadium-situation-for-next-year.1989218/

            I think bathrooms, locker rooms, and a press box are the most difficult things to add to these “unfinished” fields and the real reason for rejection. Though Durwood has few seats it looks pretty darn snazzy from pictures, I bet it has decent facilities.

          • Boston Red

            So I guess we will agree to disagree. I don’t see “tons” more space at Harvard. That space behind the benches is the Harvard baseball field and there are some patches here and there, but not enough to put any real stands.

          • treehill

            OK we can agree to disagree. But the scientist in me wants to make sure we’re looking at the same pictures.

            You really think the outlined area in the 1st pic (Durwood) is not significantly smaller than in the 2nd pic (Soldiers)?

            (The purple area in the Durwood I wasn’t sure was even allowable but Ron Bishop’s map says they’re putting seats there)

          • Boston Red

            The Harvard areas are bigger in terms of square footage, but aren’t that useable. You have a lot of broken up areas that probably can’t be used easily. It includes paths and the access road in the back. Guess it depends on how much money you want to spend on the effort, but you are better off with flat areas if you are going to use temporary bleachers.

  • HappyBunny

    Very happy KC is losing the lines.