Does the Kansas City Royals poor start to the season hurt, help, or not matter to Sporting KC's success off the field?
For those that don't watch a ton of baseball (myself included), the Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a very long losing streak right now. Eleven straight losses, ten of those at home, not the way that you want to start a season that many felt would finally see the Royals be a little more competitive in the Central Division. Now the Royals are 3-13, already 7 games out of first place. And after last night's loss, I saw the @SportingKC mentions and the #SportingKC time line blow up with multiple posts from people. Some people saying how they were glad that they were Sporting fans and not Royals fans, but a lot of them seemed to be people saying they need to check out Sporting since it's the "same old Royals" or saying they need to get a soccer for dummies book and check out Sporting. Either way, the frustration with the Royals is becoming readily apparent.
The question this week is, does the Royals struggles this season combined with Sporting KC's good start help, hurt, or not matter to Sporting's success in the stands, in the media, and in other off the field measures? For me, I think it's more of Sporting's good start that is contributing the most to their success. As I mentioned last night, KC is hungry for a winner, the Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since Joe Montana was quarterback back in 1993, and the Royals haven't been a potential playoff contender since the 1994 MLB strike (aside from one season when they flirted with it before falling away under Tony Pena). Then while I enjoy the Missouri Comets, and the Missouri Mavericks and KC T-Bones have success, they all are minor league teams. And while the Wizards won a title in 2000 and the US Open Cup in 2004, they weren't exactly getting much media attention during that time. Now Sporting is pulling in the local media, they are getting consistent TV coverage and are drawing well in their own stadium. It's been a long time since there's been a winner in this city that people have gotten behind. And since KC's stadium has opened they've lost only 4 regular season games since it did would seem to classify them as a winner.
More than anything, it is Sporting's winning that is leading to Sporting's success off the field, but it's also due to good brand building off it as well. There's been a number of articles, not just in KC, but throughout the US talking about the things that the club has been doing off the field to grow the team and the brand. OnGoal has made the club one of the model franchises of the league, and have made the team the blue print for turning around struggling MLS sides.
The Royals struggles though have contributed to Sporting's success a little bit though, as people like to support winners. Just look at the fan bases of the New York Yankees, the LA Lakers, Manchester United, they have huge fan bases not just in their own cities, but around the world. Success brings TV coverage (although NY and LA being huge cities helps too). For more recent examples, look at how many more Chelsea fans there are now compared to 10-15 years ago, before the Russian oil money came in. Or the sudden growth in Manchester City fans (not all, I know a few that were fans before the money really came in). Winning and doing well brings out fans. The Royals are not winning right now, haven't been winning for a long time. This year especially, hopes had been high, but those are falling fast with the way the Royals have been losing lately.
On the other side, you can argue that the Royals losing is hurting Sporting off the field in the media at least. The Royals' struggles are becoming the main talk on sports radio and the news. Not that Sporting was always a topic, but just how much the Royals struggle is the big talking point.
So what do you think? Are the Royals struggles helping Sporting's off field success? Or is it hurting it?