1 of 1
Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., will be the site of the MLS Cup game Saturday afternoon, Dec. 7. (File photo)
It’s been an unprecedented year for Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City area tourism, and it just keeps getting better.
With Sporting Kansas City playing Real Salt Lake for the MLS Cup at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in Kansas City, Kan., national and worldwide attention has come to Kansas City, Kan., and the Kansas City area again for the second time in the same year. The MLS All-Star match here in the summer was the first huge event.
“We know that a lot of eyes are going to be on KCK again this weekend because of Sporting KC,” said Bridgette Jobe, executive director of the Kansas City, Kan., Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The success of Sporting KC as a team and the success of its stadium, Sporting Park, in the Village West area of Kansas City, Kan., continue to bring positive attention to the city, Jobe said.
The number of hits on the CVB’s website and the number of phone calls looking for hotel information and tourism information has increased lately, she said.
“We know that this is going to be a very busy weekend, not only in KCK and Village West, but this affects the entire metro area as fans are coming in,” Jobe said. “It’s also going to be a positive weekend for businesses, restaurants and retail in the Village West area of KCK that are going to benefit from the additional traffic, people coming before and after the game.”
While she did not have a figure for the estimated economic impact of the match, she said it is substantial, and tourism is better this year in Kansas City, Kan.
“One of the best ways we can track tourism growth is through the occupancy rate at our hotels,” Jobe said. “Kansas City, Kan., is up almost 4 percent in occupancy over this time last year. Plus the average daily rate for our rooms continues to grow, giving us one of the highest rates in the KC metro. Basically this means that more visitors are coming to the area, and are willing to pay a higher price to stay here. Events such as Sporting games, Kansas Speedway race weekends, and other major entertainment events all significantly contribute to this success.”
Something that is not measured is the public relations effect every time a match is shown on national television, commentators talk about Kansas City, Kan., and photos are shown of the Kansas City area, she said.
“It creates that very positive emotion in those people who are watching the game, and it puts Kansas City as a region in a very positive light,” Jobe said. “One of the greatest benefits we get from this is that positive public relations message that goes out.”
Jobe said the success of Sporting KC in being the host of the All-Star match that was nationally and internationally televised, and again of being in the MLS Cup race, is a definite reason why tourism is up this year.
Then there is an overall improvement in tourism this year. “Tourism overall is up, people are continuing to travel, and it’s been a good travel year, weather-wise,” she said.
“In KCK, the thing we are doing right is we are continually adding something new, continually adding a reason to come back again and again,” Jobe said. “This year we added in the success of Sporting KC. In 2014 we’re adding in that we’re the home of the tallest water slide (at Schlitterbahn), to bring these visitors back again. That’s what we are doing and it is leading to our success.”
To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.