Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Soccer City KC. Can KC Support Soccer 5 Teams?

Starting next year in Kansas City, there will now be 5 professional and semi-professional teams playing in the metropolitan area.  While across the state of Missouri, St. Louis is considered one of the hot beds of soccer and Portland has the nickname of Soccer City USA, Kansas City is making a name for themselves as well in the soccer community.  Next year, in Kansas City, soccer fans will get to choose from the existing Sporting KC, Missouri Comets, and KC Brass along with new comers FC Kansas City and the Kansas City Shock. 

As you can see that's a lot of soccer to support, and the question is whether KC can support all those teams or not.  Of the existing teams, all 3 would on the surface appear to be able to survive.  Sporting KC is probably the safest of all 5 of the teams, with Livestrong Sporting Park existing and it being a facility where Sporting can control the revenue.  They're also the best attended of the existing teams, averaging 19,404 in the 2012 season. 

The Comets would likely be considered safe as well heading into this year, mainly because they're in the market all by themselves during the majority of their season as the other four teams play a spring/fall schedule.  The Comets are also doing a good job of filling the Independence Events Center, which at this time is the perfect size for the indoor game.  Last year, the Comets finished 3rd in attendance in the league, averaging 4,092 per game in the 5,800 seat IEC.  Last year the Comets had to go head to head with another indoor team, the PASL Kansas Magic, who folded after one season last year.

Of the existing teams in Kansas City, the third team, the KC Brass is the second oldest existing team in KC, starting a year after Sporting KC started as the KC Wiz.  They also had the lowest attendance of the teams.  In their 7 games that attendance was reported last year, the Brass averaged 340 per game at the Overland Park Soccer Complex.  At the facility the Brass though don't charge for attendance, so there's no revenue coming in from ticket sales for the Brass.  In their history they've played on both sides of the state line and north and south sides of the city, moving from BVDAC to William Jewell and into the OP Soccer Complex.  Really though attendance isn't that big of a deal for the Brass, the non-profit that owns the club is they're mainly to help develop players for the pro game and seem content at this time to continue doing that.

From there we have the two new women's team.  First, the "oldest" of the two teams, the KC Shock.  The Shock are setting themselves to be the same type of team that the Brass, looking to develop local players to contribute at the next level.  At this time the Shock haven't finalized a venue yet.

The final team is the women's professional team, FC Kansas City, owned by the same owners as the Missouri Comets.  Like the Shock, the Blues are entering their first season and as yet, KC has not announced their venue yet.  They've got their list limited down, and are looking for a site that will allow them at least 5,000.  Livestrong is apparently still one of the options for them to play in.  They have the backing of US Soccer as well as the Canadian and Mexican federations as those three federations will be providing the funding for a number of players on the roster, which will certainly help with the team's bottom line and the cost of player salaries. 

As a whole I think that Sporting and the Brass are on solid footing.  I think the fate of the Comets and FC Kansas City will be tied together with the two teams being owned by the same group.  Not that it will happen, but there could be a potential situation similar to St. Louis where one team gets sacrificed for the survival of the other, or both end up in financial trouble. 

I like the guys that are doing the set up for the Shock, but I do wonder if they might be the "low man on the totem pole."  They were unlucky with the establishment of their club a few months before a professional women's team was announced for the city as well.  They're doing a good job on the social media scene, but they'll be battling to establish their place in a market while at the same time having to "fight" with a team that has the backing of US Soccer, that's going to be a tough task to face.

Overall, it's going to be a full summer when it comes to soccer with 4 teams playing in Kansas City.  That's certainly going to stretch the entertainment dollars (not just ticket prices but gas, concessions, etc.) of soccer fans in the city.  Each team finding their niche is what is going to be key for all 5 teams to survive here.  If one fails to find it's own niche it's not going to survive long with all the other soccer options around at this time.


Rob Swenson said...

Is the Kansas Magic pro indoor team still around? @ksmagicsoccer on Twitter

Mike said...

They're not playing this year in the PASL.

Anonymous said...

KC Athletics?