Addicts, for those of us that have been to games at Arrowhead Stadium I think it is fair to say that the experience is something that is far above and beyond most if not all other venues in any sport in the US. There is definitely something special about the tailgating, the Sea of Red, the crowd noise, the Hall of Honor, and the list keeps on going. Yea, the fans of Kansas City’s NFL team are blessed indeed with a pretty bitchin’ venue to see our gladiators do battle with other cities.
This post isn’t about all of those awesome things though. As I have gone to more and more sporting events I have noticed that although the Arrowhead Experience puts all others to shame there are some very cool things done in other sports that the Chiefs and NFL in general could learn from.
A sport by sport breakdown after the jump.
Say what you want about NASCAR. I am not a big fan so it won’t hurt my feelings any. Some people say it’s not a sport, and that it’s full of rednecks etc. I am here to tell you that NASCAR has some policies (speaking specifically about Kansas Speedway) that are very awesome, and that are a key reason that they can sell 150,000 tickets to an event without breaking a sweat.
- Because of agreements with advertisers (mostly tobacco products, remember it’s NASCAR), when you go to a race you can get bags full of free stuff before you go into the race. It’s no lie that people love free stuff, even if it’s something they won’t ever use, and this has tremendous drawing power. Plus, this gives you a lot to do before the race other than barbeque and drink beer at 7 o’clock in the morning.
- You can bypass the exponential increase in price of alcoholic beverages at Kansas Speedway by bringing in your own beer. Not sure what the price of a 16oz beer will be at Arrowhead this year, but it’s $9.00 at Kauffman which has perennially been cheaper than its neighboring stadium. I know, they say it’s so expensive to fight public drunkenness, but when people are allowed to start getting toasted in the parking lot hours before the game who are we really fooling here? I like a beer or two at the game, but I have officially been priced out of buying alcohol at the stadium, I’ll just drink in the parking lot…
Soccer will never overtake the other major sports in America, and it has nothing to do with the game itself despite what everyone tries to tell you on sports radio. The reason that Soccer will never take over is the same reason NASCAR is the dominant racing motorsport in the US, it’s American. Football, Basketball, NASCAR, and Baseball were all created in America, and Soccer is looked at as foreign and thus inferior. Not trying to start a political debate here, but really is an MLS game any less eventful than an MLB game? Yet even though it will never eclipse Arrowhead, Sporting Park has some key advantages that the Chiefs could learn from.
- Pricing. It is realistic to think you could take your entire family to a Sporting KC game. I understand that a lot of this is tied into how much players are paid and whatnot, but tickets to Arrowhead (even if you can find them from the box office) are at a minimum double what it costs to go to a Chiefs game for comparable seats. Also, an authentic Sporting KC jersey is $70 (pretty expensive), but an authentic Chiefs jersey sells for $245. So you could buy yourself and your two children each authentic Sporting KC jerseys for a cool $35 cheaper than it would cost you to buy one Chiefs jersey at the stadium. Am I missing something here, or is that f%!$ ing ridiculous?
- Game Check-in via smartphone app. Every seat and suite at Sporting Park has a scannable mobiletag. How it works is you download the Sporting KC app, and check-in by scanning your seat. You can also do this while watching the game on television (they put the mobiletag on the screen during the game). After you check in, there are trivia questions, and questions about what you think will happen during the game that you can answer to make the experience more interactive. You earn points for checking in as well as for answering questions, and those points are good for…well that’s where it all falls apart because I have no idea…but the Chiefs could expand on this idea which would be very cool in my opinion.
I love going to Royals games. There are lots of options for inexpensive tickets (one benefit of having a perennially horrible team), and although I don’t watch too much baseball on television there is just something about watching the big boys play. Aside from the tickets being cheaper, the Royals really don’t do any of the other things listed above. Their merchandise is over-priced, you can’t bring beer into the game, there are no mobiletags, but there is one thing that is awesome about Royals games that the Chiefs could learn from.
I know it’s a gimmick to get more fans to go to the games, but the Royals have some pretty awesome giveaways to the first 20,000 fans. The last game I went to I got a free Kansas City A’s hat, and my friends and family that live up there have jerseys, bobble-heads, and tons of other merchandise they got just for going to the game. The Chiefs wouldn’t have to do this for every game, but it’d be pretty awesome to have a free t-shirt from the two playoff games I went to.
That’s my list of things that the Chiefs could take from other sports to enhance an already awesome experience. I’m sure that since my experience is limited there are probably some other things out there that you Addicts have seen and wish the Chiefs would adopt. What are they?