KC Pitch says "We're Pucked"
Seven big-league hockey and basketball teams have rejected Kansas City. When the Sprint Center opens, will anyone love us?
Really an interesting read in the KC Pitch this week. Now, I'm not a great fan of the Pitch, anymore.
When I was a younger, single man I read the Pitch every week. I had to find the drink specials and know which bands were playing where. I became a huge fan of Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt/Wilco/Jay Farrar after reading a small story in the Pitch probably 15 years ago. Now that I'm older, I spend my weekend nights listening to the Wiggles rather than Steve, Bob and Rich.
I must say, I'm impressed with the storytelling. By reading the story, one can tell that Justin Kendall did far more research than anyone at the Star has done.
The story is a bit pessimistic, but, c'mon, this is Journalism. Without a slightly cynical view, the right questions don't get asked (hint, hint).
The reality may seem clear. But like victims of unrequited love, city leaders and AEG officials have stubbornly refused to admit that they're growing desperate.
I think it's very telling that AEG has not mentioned an anchor tenant for October 2007 in quite some time. Next thing you'll hear Michael Roth say is "We never promised an NBA or NHL tenant for the arena's opening. We're talking to some franchises about relocating in 2008 and beyond."
However, the Walt Disney Company sold the Ducks in 2005 to an owner who decided to keep the team in California.
Not only that, but they sold it to an Orange County native, who is now pursuing an NBA team (he already has an NBDL team playing in the same arena as the Ducks) and may be competition for KC's bid for an NBA team. The Ducks are in Anaheim to stay for a long, long time.
If that doesn't work, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has devised a plan to pay for the arena with bonds that could be paid off by the Penguins in modest annual installments.
Remember, the Governor's "Plan B" DOES NOT call for the team to fund half the arena, as the Star erroneously reported. Plan B calls for the team to pay $2.9M per year for 30 years plus give up naming rights, which is worth another $1.2M per year.
Last week, Fingold's deal to buy the Penguins appeared to be falling through, according to several media reports in Pittsburgh. The Star buried the news in a 415-word article on page nine of the sports section.
Ok, that is probably an unprovoked shot. The Star simply doesn't have the column space to do much more than 400-word stories. However, they can at least get them right.
Kevin Gray, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, talks of the "golden opportunity" Kansas City has to land the Penguins. "We definitely respect the fact that the league wants to stay in Pittsburgh," Gray tells the Pitch. "But our belief is that right now, if the league wants to be successful and solidify a market, you can do that here right now."
Wow. What an incredibly arrogant thing to say. Pittsburgh supports the Penguins for 40 years and two Stanley Cups and Kevin Gray says moving to KC would "solidify a market". Please.
Neil deMause, co-author of the widely cited Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit, wonders what the benefit would be to the city. "You've got a team, but you're not making any revenue off of your arena," deMause says. "You've just filled up 40 dates, and you're not getting anything from it." He says Kansas City and Oklahoma City could end up being "the cities that everybody loves to play footsie with."
An obvious omission is any mention of NHL21 and Paul McGannon. I guess McGannon's constant positive spin couldn't advance the story. Perhaps a warranted omission.
I guess there is value in our local daily newspaper being a glorified cheerleader (rah, rah for ol' KC). It makes people feel warm and fuzzy like the pretty colors the Star now has.
But, I put a lot more stock in Journalism that tells a story and informs it's readers.
Justin Kendall and the Pitch have done a nice job with this one. It accurately informs sports fans and readers about how difficult it is to attract an NBA or NHL team, regardless of whether AEG is an 800-pound gorilla. As I have said in this blog before, the recent NHL moves were prompted by the NHL wanting to get away from former WHA markets. Only the former Minnesota North Stars up and left a true, established NHL market in the last 25 years (and KC's potential fan base isn't even close to that of Dallas in the 90s).
I hope it sparks discussion among sports fans and, maybe more importantly, voters in KC.