Could Kansas City Be Getting an Expansion NBA Team

Jan 6, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; The NBA logo on the floor before the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; The NBA logo on the floor before the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Kansas City is an evolving city in so many ways and could be in talks of getting an expansion NBA team. The population is growing, and businesses are developing and expanding. The sports industry is booming, for example, announced on October 26th, 2021, the Kansas City Current women’s soccer team will be getting a brand new training facility and a brand new stadium. These facilities will be state-of-the-art, costing roughly $85,000,000 for both complexes.

Another example is the Kansas City Mavericks, a hockey team that is entering their fourth season as an ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. According to kcmavericks.com,

"“The Kansas City Mavericks have been awarded numerous community and league awards over the years, including the Harry S. Truman Special Community Service Recognition Award by the City of Independence, and claiming CHL Franchise of the Year in four consecutive seasons. Most recently, the Mavericks won the John J. ‘Buck’ O’Neil Diamond MVP Award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City for the team’s charitable efforts with the Dinner on Ice event, which has raised nearly half a million dollars since the inception of the event.”"

These examples are sports start-ups in Kansas City becoming successful, and that does not include the Kansas City Royals, Chiefs, or Sporting Kansas City. With the growth and expansion of the city plus sports, the question that is proposed is could Kansas City be getting an expansion NBA team?

What Would It Take To Get an NBA Team in Kansas City?

The first thing required for KC to get an NBA team would be if the NBA is looking to expand. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, talked about expansion, “I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point. I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.” According to CNBC, Seattle, Kansas City, and Las Vegas are in the NBA’s sights. I am sure this topic was being highly considered until the pandemic occurred. The idea of expansion during a pandemic could put the expansion team off on the wrong foot financially and create failure from the start.

Another question is does Kansas City have the infrastructure to support an NBA team. Former NBA President Andy Dolich explained this idea beautifully with the acronym A-B-C-D.

"“The A is avidity: the market you’re picking has to be an avid sports market. The B is simple: Who is your billionaire? If you don’t have your billionaire, you don’t have anything. The C is the community: the elected officials, the leading businesses who are going to support you and the fan base. The D [destination] is where are you playing? The NBA is not playing in yesterday’s arena. Those are the four key parts.”"

I plan on answering this acronym through the article.

Is Kansas City an Avid Sports Market?

There is no question that Kansas City is an avid sports market. This fan base gushes over the hometown teams. The support is one of a kind, for example, attending a Kansas City Chiefs tailgate. The fans line up as early as 2 A.M. to get to their parking spaces and fire up their smokers or grills. Once the tailgate is complete, and kick-off is about to occur, fans pour into Arrowhead Stadium, the loudest outdoor stadium pumping 142.2 decibels. If that doesn’t do it for you, attend a Sporting Kansas City match and sit inside the cauldron. The atmosphere is next level.

John Oruand, of the Sports Business Journal, revealed the tv ratings for Kansas City during the AFC Divisional Round matchup between the Buffalo Bills. The rating for the Kansas City market was 55.3 with an 85 share, meaning 85% of all TVs in use during the game were tuned to Chiefs-Bills. That figure peaked at a 90 share from 8:45 to 9 p.m.”

Kansas City is without a doubt an avid sports city which leads to the next letter B. The B indicates having a billionaire in your corner and I think KC has something better.

Patrick Mahomes Could Aid in Bringing an NBA Team to Kansas City

Patrick Mahomes II was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, and ever since that day he has rooted himself into the city. After almost making it through his rookie contract, Mahomes would sign a ten-year, $450,000,000 deal, not making him a free agent until 37 years old. Mahomes took it to the next level by buying into other local sports teams in KC. On July 28th, 2020, Mahomes announced he took a minority stake in the Kansas City Royals. His fiancé Brittany Matthews announced on December 7th that she would join the ownership group for a KC women’s soccer team. On July 27th, 2021, Mahomes announced he would become a member of the Sporting Club ownership group of Sporting Kansas City.

With all of the ties to Kansas City, Mahomes could eventually lobby for an NBA team to expand to Kansas City. He may not be a billionaire yet, but he is working on it. He would lead the charge in assembling an ownership group to attract the NBA team. The next two letters C-D will be combined because they go hand in hand.

Elected Officials and Destination for a Kansas City NBA Team

The pandemic forced sports franchises and organizations to act accordingly. Players were put through strict protocols fans were initially not allowed in arenas and stadiums. The NBA followed, and the Toronto Raptors potentially needed a temporary home while Canada fought off Covid-19. Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas sent out a tweet saying they would welcome the Raptors and the T-Mobile Center is ready.

Needless to say, he was not the only elected official on board as U.S. senator Roy Blunt, Pat Roberts, and Jerry Moran along with U.S. representative Emmanuel Clever II wrote a letter to Adam Silver along with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment on KC hosting the Toronto Raptors. If these officials were okay with housing the Raptors, I am sure they would be all for an official team coming to KC.

The final letter is D and stands for a destination, which is the T-Mobile Center. According to t-mobilecenter.com, the

"“T-Mobile Center is Kansas City’s home for live entertainment and sporting events. Anchor to more than $8 billion of reinvestment in a revitalized downtown Kansas City, the award-winning venue has welcomed more than 12 million guests since opening in 2007. Having exceeded attendance and financial projections in each year of operation, T-Mobile Center annually hosts more than 100 ticketed events and is a unique public/private partnership between ASM Global and the City of Kansas City, Mo.”"

This venue has supported the Big 12 tournament for many years as fans pour in from different states to watch their college team fight for the Big 12 tournament title. Kansas City has developed around the T-Mobile Center in an area called the Power and Light District, which is still expanding and growing today. Hotels, condos, apartments, and businesses are entering commercial real estate in downtown KC. Since the creation of the T-Mobile Center, downtown KC has been revitalized.

I have answered A-B-C-D and feel that Kansas City could support an NBA team. When the time comes for the NBA to expand I hope they take into consideration Kansas City and all that it can provide.

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