Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Wizards Were THIS Close to Leaving KC

KC has gotten quite a few new fans over the past few years, and while they have heard the history of the team and the stories of the team potentially moving. But I would suggest for all fans, not just those that are newer read this story about the Rochester Rhinos no longer being on MLS' radar.

The reason for this is because you'll learn about how close Kansas City really did come to losing their MLS team to Rochester. For those that don't know the situation back in the later part of the 90's early part of the 00's, Rochester was drawing over 10,000 fans a game at a time when MLS was only drawing around 13,000 to 14,000 on average and on the low end in the 7,000 to 8,000 range. So Rochester appeared to be a team that would be above the minimum in the league.

How KC fits into this, is because KC was one of those teams at the low end of the attendance level. And while they weren't going to be put up for sale for another few years, back in 2002 Hunt's Sports Group met with the owners of the Rhinos in the hopes of getting the Wizards to move to Rochester into their new stadium, now called Sahlen's Stadium. I'd heard stories that the move was so close to happening that they were counting parking spots basically. Rochester's owners didn't have the funds at the time to meet MLS' year end cash call, but the plan would have been that Hunt would still own the team and meet the cash calls for equity in the stadium. The Rhinos ended up not making the deal because they were worried that Hunt would end up owning over 50 percent of the stadium if MLS never turned a profit. Rochester's loss turned out to be KC's gain. Even though KC fans had to live through Hunt officially putting the team up for sale, the rumored moves to New York or to San Antonio, or wherever else, OnGoal bought the team in 2006 and five years later we opened our home in KCK. Hope those of you that didn't know the history (and even those that didn't) enjoyed the look.

1 comment:

Ron Bishop said...

Reads like a sc-fi Star Trek/Wizards alternate future story. You can tell who is evil - the dude with a goatee.

Good read!