Hearne: Forget Kansas, Iowa State Tops Big 12 Tourism Party Slag Heap

cyThe secret to the Big 12 basketball tournament’s success in KC?

Not KU’s 80,000-plus strong alumni base in Kansas City. Nor K-State’s, and not Mizzou’s paltry 26,000 alums.

Nope, when it comes to propping up the Big 12 tourney (and fostering tourism) the undisputed champ is none other than lowly Iowa State.

“Oh, Iowa State’s the money,” says Stanford & Sons main man Craig Glazer. “Most people in Kansas City don’t know that. And Kansas losing will actually help local restaurants and bars, because otherwise KU fans would have stayed him and watched the championship game on TV.”

Forget about tourism from the other Big 12 teams.

“The tourism Kansas City gets from the Big 12 is because of Iowa State,” Glazer says. “And that’s the only reason the Big 12 is good for tourism here. Even when Iowa State’s not any good they are the biggest attending group from out of town. I would say if you add every other school’s fans up besides KU and K-State, Iowa State has more. And in a year like this where they have a good team, a lot more.

“Even in a bad year they bring a few thousand fans and they drink their asses off. We loved it when they used to come to Westport before the Power & Light opened. It used to be our biggest week of the year for most places overall and it probably still is.”

Westport Saloon owner Bill Nigro concurs.

“Because Iowa State was a finalist Wesport was packed this weekend,” Nigro says. “And Kelly’s had lines to get in virtually every day.”

Wu-pointing-copyNigro’s percentage estimate of the Big 12 crowd breakdown:

“In Westport the biggest crowds are from Iowa State. I’d say, 40 percent of our Big 12 crowd is Iowa State. Followed by 25 percent that are KU fans and 15 percent that are Missouri fans, even though they are in the SEC now. K-State’s got maybe 5 percent and the rest are from all the other schools.

In other words, about 15 percent from all the Texas and Oklahoma schools.

Missing in these early crowd calculations: Wichita State.

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Confessori

 

Come the NCAA’s we’ll get a better idea of how many Shocker fans there are in KC.

You know, besides Westport Cafe owner Aaron Confessori.

“My favorite team in the NCAA tournament is Wichita State,” Nigro says. “Wichita State’s gonna win it all, buddy.”

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8 Responses to Hearne: Forget Kansas, Iowa State Tops Big 12 Tourism Party Slag Heap

  1. rkcal says:

    I think this was already pretty well known-Cyclone fans represent well in KC. Most of it is based on geography. KC is a quick trip, and the closest “big” city to Ames. All the other schools have more palatable options closer to home.

    • mike t. says:

      what… you don’t consider Des Moines or Omaha “big”? the effrontery! (kidding.)

      wonder if they’ll show up in San Antonio…

    • Frank says:

      Yes.

      File this article under: “Things Most People Already Know”

    • Bob says:

      Kansas City during the Big 12 tourney is like Las Vegas for ISU fans. And that isn’t a slight. Much respect. It has been this way since the casinos were put in 20 plus years ago.

  2. hot harley says:

    iowa state always draws well into kc…I think they had a football game
    here against kstate and it drew well.
    its nothing new that iowa state/iowa always brings big crowd to sporting events/
    other events in kc.
    and they love this town…because kc can be a great tourist destination for those
    people in surrounding areas

    • admin says:

      I think the Iowa State love of KC is largely two things.

      One, they live in Iowa for crying out loud. Ever spent any time there? And two, Kansas City is like a kinder, gentler Chicago to many of them. A bit closer for some, far more affordable and less far daunting.

  3. Bob says:

    I’m not sure what defines “tourist,” but a bunch of people from Wyandotte and Johnson counties going to P&L on a day trip to watch KU and/or KSU qualifies. ISU wins easily. Been like this forever. They even show up in ISU’s lean years.

    “Come the NCAA’s we’ll get a better idea of how many Shocker fans there are in KC.”

    They are called bandwaggoners.

  4. Bob says:

    “I’m not sure what defines “tourist,” but a bunch of people from Wyandotte and Johnson counties going to P&L on a day trip to watch KU and/or KSU qualifies. ”

    To clarify… does not qualify in terms of dollars spent.

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