Hearne: Sprint May Be About to Get What it Deserves, New Name, New Boss

tmobileChiefs football, the Country Club Plaza, First Fridays

Popular as they are, the above activities pale by comparison to Kansas City‘s favorite pastime, fretting and worrying about anything and everything.

Worrying that people outside the area know we’re not a cow town, a flyover. That they know everything’s up to date here and we’re one of the most livable cities in America. Or that cities like Omaha even may be passing us by.

The list goes on.

And we in the media like to play up those many foibles. Give locals something to wring their hands over. Like this headline today on the Kansas City Star website:

Yael T. Abouhalkah: Ouch! KC could lose ‘Sprint Center’ and much more in T-Mobile merger

You heard the man, “ouch.”

If hometown phone giant Sprint is successful in acquiring its far smaller-yet-attractive rival T-Mobile, Kansas Citians may have too start seeing concerts and Big 12 basketball at Kemper Arena again.

Foo Fighters @ Kemper

Foo Fighters @ Kemper

Thank god the city didn’t let the American Royal talk ’em into tearing it down.

Seriously though, headlines are almost always written by copy editors, not reporters and columnists. For the uninitiated, copy editors are the folks who really know how to spell and grammar check and to verify names and facts to help try and ward off embarrassing errors and corrections.

They’re also the dudes who have very few creative outlets to express their inner angst and opinions.

Headline writing is pretty much it, and I can’t tell you how many times at the newspaper a zealous copy editor tried to insert his or herself into a column or news story by having their way with the headline.

Off the top of my head, if I wrote something halfway legit or positive about light rail activist Clay Chastain for example, I could almost always count on a snide headline that towed the company line that he was a kook, unworthy of the publicity.

One of The Star's favorite embarrassing photos of Clay Chastain

One of The Star’s favorite embarrassing photos of Clay Chastain

If the headline was unusually egregious I’d complain, but usually I went with the flow.

So it is, that in reading past the headline in today’s column about the Sprint merger, readers learn we might only lose the Sprint Center name, not the building. Because the Sprint name is rumored to be dropped and the resulting company called T-Mobile.

candice-bergen-sprintSo that’s one less worry, right? Merely a name change, no wrecking balls.

Next we learn that Sprint chief Dan Hesse might not be in charge if the merger goes down. Never mind that that these details are all quite vague and came from unnamed sources speculating on what may or may not happen.

Hey, it’s never to soon to start getting anxious.

So let’s see, without even referring to the quality of the sources, Mr. Abouhalkah would like for us to worry about 1) the loss of the Sprint name 2) the highly regarded CEO of T-Mobile taking over and 3) that Sprint Center might end up being renamed something like the T-Mobile or Garmin Center or some other atrocity.

Personally, I think naming rights for public venues kind of suck but they’re also maybe a necessary evil. And the day will undoubtedly come when Arrowhead becomes something like Cerner Stadium.

Is that so bad?


T-Mobile’s dashing, young CEO John Legere

And if Sprint –  a company widely criticized for poor management, losing tons of subscribers and a piss poor 4G network – manages to land highly regarded T-Mobile CEO John Legere, how is that a bad thing?

Unless you fear Kansas City will lose what remains of Sprint as an “anchor tenant.”

Chances are that well could happen anyway.

Like another local business giant, Sprint is now Asian-owned by Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company that bought Sprint a year ago. And AMC Theatres, now owned China’s Wanda.

Who knows?

Perhaps with forceful, creative leadership Sprint will become an even larger force for good in Kansas City. Look what the Boulevard Brewing acquisition by a foreign firm already has yielded – in less than a year, no less – more Chocolate Ale and a wildly successful, West Bottoms music festival.

What’s not to like about all that?

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One Response to Hearne: Sprint May Be About to Get What it Deserves, New Name, New Boss

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    You could use some of the other Sprint reject comments so this post doesn’t look so lonely.

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