Kansas City, Kan., will be the site of the Major League Soccer All-Star game July 31, but will Kansas City, Mo., get all the national and international attention?
The question came up last week at a Unified Government Commission meeting. The MLS All-Star game, between an MLS all-star team and a well-known international club, usually receives considerable international attention.
As Kansas City, Kan., and the KCK Convention and Visitors Bureau gears up for the MLS All-Star game at Sporting Park, some examples were cited of smaller cities that were the host for major national games, but did not receive any of the credit nationally for their efforts.
Last year’s MLS All-Star game host, Chester, Pa., was often referred to in the national media as in “Philadelphia,” Mayor Joe Reardon recalled. Philadelphia officials were interviewed, and Philadelphia sights were often shown, while the smaller host city was mostly ignored.
With the historic confusion of visitors and nonresidents over whether they are in Kansas City, Kan., or Kansas City, Mo., it seems an uphill battle for Kansas City, Kan., to gain the national limelight it so clearly wants.
Nonetheless, KCKCVB executive director Bridgette Jobe has a preliminary plan to capitalize on all the attention, aimed at providing the best experience for fans.
She told the commission the plan includes some activities that would showcase Kansas City, Kan. Included are community involvement efforts such as a kickoff event at City Hall about two weeks prior to the game, a pep rally at The Legends Outlets on the day of the game, and watch parties on the night of the game throughout Kansas City, Kan. Another goal is to have some transportation plans for the 19,000 fans who want to park near the stadium, and transportation from a hotel to the stadium.
The KCKCVB also is planning a promotional campaign, including a micro website and a large social media campaign, she said.
The CVB also plans to provide welcome posters and banners, information and maps to be distributed at hotels, fan information booths at hotels, and codes on all printed materials that can be read by smart phones, directing visitors to the micro website for more information.
She added she expected the preliminary plan to cost about $75,000, with funds expected to be raised from donors or sponsors.
And she is not ready to include Kansas City, Mo., and other neighbors yet, although she will eventually, she said. The time remaining is relatively short until the event, compared to other large tourism events.
Kansas City, Kan., wants to establish the first claim on being the host city for the All-Star game, before inviting the others in, Jobe added. The host hotel for the event, however, is in Kansas City, Mo., as Kansas City, Kan., did not have one big enough. The Kansas City, Kan., hotels nevertheless are expected to be full during this event. With the host hotel in Kansas City, Mo., that is almost certain to add to the likelihood of Kansas City, Mo., receiving some, if not most, of the attention.
There was a little doubt from the commission level that $75,000 would be enough to do promotions for a game of that stature. Jobe said these are preliminary plans that could change in the future, but she feels the CVB can do grass-roots level promotions for $75,000.
Kansas City, Kan., will have a national-international event like never before, and it will be at least 10 more years before it could happen again, Jobe told the commission.
“We wanted to make sure KCK was in the limelight, that we were not overshadowed,” she said.