Readers who like to characterise MLS as a Mickey Mouse league (don’t be shy about it, folks) have a little more ammunition today as the poor old Kansas City Wizards announced their home for the 2008 and 2009 seasons. From playing in the absurdly large Arrowhead Stadium (home to the NFL’s Chiefs), the Wizards have gone to the opposite extreme, as they’ll now play at a baseball stadium with a capacity below 10,000, one home to the minor league T-Bones.
Part of the number one tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, CommunityAmerica Ballpark will let the Wizards build partnerships with the Legends at Village West, a destination shopping center directly east of the stadium. During the 2007 season, the Wizards participated in multiple events at the Legends, including player appearances and post-game festivities.
“Soccer is more than a spectator sport. It is experiential,” Executive Vice President Greg Cotton said. “Our fans’ gameday experience should include both pre-game and post-game festivities. With the Legends right next door, we have a unique opportunity to introduce our fans to this extended experience.”
The Wizards are committed to creating a total entertainment experience surrounding their home games in anticipation of a soccer-specific stadium complex with an adjacent entertainment district in the team’s immediate future.
“With approximately 10,000 seats, this move allows the Wizards and our fans the opportunity to be a part of a more intimate atmosphere that has not been present before,” Cotton said. “We believe this is an excellent venue for showcasing our world-class athletes in at atmosphere that is exciting, energetic and fun.”
Lord knows what activities the Wizards have planned at the adjacent shopping centre. Still, it’s true that playing in a sold-out small venue is better than playing in a giant, empty huge venue, so can we characterise this as progress?