MLS Multiplex recently ranked Children’s Mercy Park, the home of Sporting KC, seventh out of all 24 MLS stadiums. It should be ranked higher.
While the article’s ranking of Sporting Kansas City’s stadium makes completely fair points, I would go on to argue that Children’s Mercy Park should be ranked higher for multiple reasons, including innovative design, fan experience, player amenities, the stadium sponsor, and most surprisingly, its location.
When Sporting’s owners set out to build a new stadium a decade ago, they wanted to break rules and completely reshape the game.
Figureas Group’s presentation of the project notes that “they wanted something radically different that would change the notion of soccer stadium design,” which is exactly what they did.
“This stadium certainly has raised the bar. It’s set a new height for what soccer stadiums can be in the future,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber to Populous, the world-renowned design firm that SKC’s ownership hired to create Children’s Mercy Park.
In 2011, the $200+ million venue was completed, revealing a technologically advanced and architecturally breathtaking structure that mutually respects both player amenities and fan experience, as well as creating one of the most cohesively-branded soccer stadiums I’ve seen across the league.
The building is gorgeous—so much so that even non-soccer fans visiting Kansas City make the trip out to Children’s Mercy Park to appreciate the architectural flair.
Populous’ page for the project shares that the stadium was based on the concept of stop-motion photography, with the shape designed to give the impression of game-like movement.
“The building’s exterior of repeating angular metal fins represent the ‘body’ or, in other words, players’ athleticism and movement on the field,” as it says on the website. “The signature 145,000-square-foot roof canopy, meanwhile, mimics the long floating arc of a soccer ball as it soars across the field.”