Stadium to Nowhere

Kansas City has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a new indoor arena with the hopes of luring a pro basketball or hockey team. But a year and a half after opening, nobody's biting.
April 17, 2009, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Since the Sprint Center opened in October 2007, exactly one hockey game has been played there, the St. Louis Blues against the Los Angeles Kings in a preseason exhibition last September. And while college basketball, the circus, a motivational seminar, and a number of concerts have passed through, the arena still lacks a big-league franchise. A flirtation with the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins turned out to be nothing more, while the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics chose Oklahoma City instead."

"At one time, Kansas City-a town of some 1.9 million-was able to support four sports teams. But while big crowds still turn out for baseball's Royals and football's Chiefs, the city hasn't had major indoor sports for more than two decades (the basketball team departed for Sacramento in 1985; the hockey team left for Denver in 1976). Increasingly, the NHL and NBA are avoiding towns like Kansas City in favor of minor-league markets-like Memphis, Oklahoma City, Ottawa, and Raleigh-where they don't have to compete with baseball and football for fan interest, corporate dollars, and media attention."

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Published on Thursday, April 16, 2009 in The Atlantic
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