Next year is going to be a big year for the Wizards with all that appears set to happen next year mainly dealing with the new stadium. There are three big things that circle around the stadium, the stadium itself, the potential rebranding, and the 2011 schedule. First, the stadium itself. It continues to go up at a rapid pace, and today the Wizards made live a second webcam, this one inside the stadium. The second webcam is in the southwest corner of the stadium and rotates from left to right panning the inside of the stadium. For those that are directionally challenged, it's the corner of the stadium closest to the intersection of State Ave and Prairie Crossing. Certainly gives a nice new perspective of the stadium.
With the new stadium, comes the continued questions and rumors of rebranding. They certainly haven't gone anywhere over the past few weeks, in fact they've only grown. During our blogger podcast the other week we discussed it at great length and all the little signs that one would think would point to rebranding. From the scarf color for season ticket holders this year, to the light blue/dark blue trusses that are going up at the team's stadium that were posted on the KC Soccer Stadium page on Facebook, there are plenty of rumors of the potential color change out there. The renaming rumors haven't gone away either, the Sporting KC rumors are still making the rounds although no trademark registration has been found at this time. The latest "hint" dropped by the team came in the season ticket holder renewal packet, where the supporters' section was no long called "The Cauldron" but instead, the "Member's Stand". Now that's not a huge hint, because while the name Cauldron is tied in with the idea of a wizard, it also has other meanings for instance, a "cauldron of noise". Although it is definitely a bit odd that the team has not labeled the section the Cauldron.
Finally the other thing about the new stadium comes down to next season's schedule. Obviously the Wizards and OnGoal are going to want to maximize the number of games the team plays in the new stadium. And with the rise in ticket prices are not going to want to have people paying as much as they are to sit and watch a few games at CAB. And that means one of two things, either the Wizards do what Philadelphia did this year, play a few games at the city's local NFL team's stadium, or spend the first 3 months of the season on the road like the LA Galaxy in 2003. Neither option is very enticing, but personally I'd rather play a game or two at Arrowhead instead of spending the first 3 months on the road. I figure one of these two is a forgone conclusion, as I'm sure the Wizards have petitioned the league for a back heavy home schedule next year. The Wizards could find themselves in a very big hole by the time they do finally open their stadium in June either way, but the idea of being on the road continually for the first 3 months is not appealing. Unlike the 2003 Galaxy who got into the playoffs still, there are 8 more teams in the league than there were then, getting 4 points in the first 3 months of the season isn't going to cut it no matter how good the team's record ends up being at the new stadium. You run the risk or tarnishing the official opening of the new stadium because the team is rooted at the bottom of the table because of the early schedule.