Sometimes it’s hard to keep a secret. Especially when that secret will probably put hundreds of thousands of dollars into your pocket and offer the kind of pub money can’t buy…
So why bother, right?
In a recent interview with MLSSoccer.com, Sporting KC president Robb Heineman made some interesting comments about the business side of the club, including what I hope was an unintentional slip-up indicating that the US Men’s National Team will be playing a game at the new stadium in June as part of the Gold Cup.
But first, the business stuff.
Almost 9,000 season tickets have already been sold. That’s 9,000! Heineman said the goal is 12,000. Considering the fact that the Wizards averaged about 10,000 fans per game last year, 9,000 season tickets already sold by January seems huge. The new stadium holds around 18,000 so it seems SKC will be looking good by the time their home opener in June rolls around.
Also impending is the announcement of a naming rights sponsor for the stadium and a sponsor for the team’s uniforms. I’ve heard grumblings from fans about the jersey sponsorship – mostly the same ones who didn’t like changing the name from Wizards to Sporting "because it sounds too Euro." They think that the team should "stay ‘Merican" and shun the jersey deal. That being said, many MLS teams boast jersey sponsors, including the Philadelphia Union, who recently announced that Mexican company, "Bimbo," would soon be plastering its name across their chests. At this point my best guess for the stadium naming rights is local giant Sprint. The jerseys could be Sprint as well, or a different national company.
And now we get to the cat that Heineman partially let out of the bag (hopefully).
When asked by Andrew Wiebe of MLSSoccer.com about the Gold Cup, and the opportunities presented by hosting two games here in June, Heineman had this to say:
"Our intent is to have that be a high-flying event … We want to make sure the Gold Cup and when the national team is here, if they end up being here, that we are running full throttle."
When the national team is here?!? I mean, er, if they end up being here… Nice cover, Robb.
A US Men’s National Team game would be fantastic to give the new stadium some national love a few days after SKC’s home opener, which is on June 9th. And the fact that Teal Bunbury has been suiting up for the Yanks would add another interesting wrinkle, at least for SKC fans.
Hopefully Mr. Heineman’s mis-speak was more than just wishful thinking.