I’m up and out of my hotel at 8am and on my way to my first flight from Kansas City. I fly into then onto Philadelphia and then my final destination is Edinburgh. All in all I will take 3 flights and it’ll take 16 hrs to get back.
My overall view of Kansas City is it a very nice place, many people in Kansas asked me why I’d take a ‘vacation’ in Kansas? If it wasn’t for the sport then I’d question it myself. It is a vast State, probably as big as the UK. I had to take a cab everywhere and the football stadium is at one end of the City and the baseball stadium is at the other. It is baking hot, most days are around the 35c in the summer months and the humidity is high, so it makes it very uncomfortable to get about. The food was great and I have to admit the BBQ’s were amazing, so for myself it has great food and great sport so I was pretty much in heaven!
One of the reasons for coming over was to see how the MLS equates to the Premier League and how a MLS club is run. There is two main differences between the two leagues. The first difference is the MLS can’t compete with the Premier League clubs on the field of play as the revenues the Premier League receive from the TV deals allows them to buy the majority of the best players in the world, so at this moment in time there is a huge imbalance in the two leagues which has been shown by the results over the last week. I got asked a number of times of how I thought Sporting KC would match up in the English league. Considering they are the current MLS champions I would say that they would be a top 6 side in the Championship.
The second difference, which is very much in the favour of Sporting KC and the majority of the MLS clubs. Because they don’t have the revenue streams from the TV deals as in the Premier League they have to find every way possible to recoup their outgoings through commercial activities. I have to admit the guys at Sporting KC don’t miss a trick and I have learnt a lot in the way they look after their customers, from the guy who buys a match ticket to the guy who spends hundreds of thousands with them. The customer service is second to none and while your in their stadium nothing is too much trouble.
There is endless ways for you to spend your money. The stadium is full of kiosks for drinks, food, alcohol and merchandise. There is huge interaction with their fans before, during and after the games, and I have to say, if I was a fan I would feel very much appreciated by my club.
Sporting KC’s training facilities are modest but very good. They have 3 full size pitches to train on, one is a 3G pitch so if they have a game coming up against a team who plays on that surface they can train on it so they are used to it. I spoke with a couple of people i knew at Man City and they were so impressed with the facilities at the stadium and even said they were better than they had at the Etihad Stadium. All MLS clubs are encouraged to bring through their own talent. Sporting KC have teams at Under 12, 14 and 16 and are looking to expand on that. If they manage to bring any of their home grown players through, they are immediately place with in the first team squad and the MLS league subsidies their wages so there is an emphasis to bring your own players through your own system.
My overall view is that the MLS is a very new league but has a very good structure so the game can progress forward very quickly. They just have to be careful that it doesn’t become a league for players at the end of their careers going out there for a final pay check and the league running out of money as it has done so in the past. My over riding view of the Premier League clubs is that commercially it doesn’t have to drive every sale possible because of the TV deals in place and I feel that fans that go to the stadiums are under valued and over looked……let’s just hope the bubble doesn’t burst on the TV figures and the TV money doesn’t run out. I recently got told that there has never been so much money within football in the UK but there has never been so much debt too.
Featured photo by bigbirdz