FC Kansas City announced a two-year partnership with the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to play their home games at Stanley H. Durwood Stadium through the 2015 National Women's Soccer League season. The Blues have an option for 2016 as well.
"One of the things we have been discussing is having a venue that compliments the world class players on our team and Durwood Stadium is a beautiful stadium right in the heart of Kansas City," said FC Kansas City President, Brian Budzinski. "We are excited to bring world-class soccer to the campus of Kansas City's university."
The Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium & Recreational Field (DSSRF) currently seats 850 but FC Kansas City will add temporary and permanent seats to raise the total to at least 3,200. The number of permanent additions and the final total will be worked out as UMKC and FC Kansas City complete the planning.
Parking does not appear to be an issue, UMKC recently added a 1500 spot parking garage right across the street from the stadium and there are several other lots nearby.
UMKC Women's Head Coach Chris Cissell gave an enthusiastic address at the press conference and in interviews afterwards was a positive advocate for the partnership, women's soccer in general and even more so about the growth of soccer in Kansas City.
"This is an excellent opportunity for UMKC and FC Kansas City," Coach Cissell exclaimed. "Obviously we are going to have opportunities to talk with them about everything that is going on in their organization. I am fortunate that I am such good friends with Vlatko (Andonovski) and Huw (Williams) already and now with them playing here I am going to be picking their brains at all times. I'm going to be studying what they are doing and also use this as an opportunity to learn from the other eight NWSL teams and their coaches. I'm excited that Randy Waldrum (Houston Dash head coach) is in the league now; I feel that he is someone I want to learn from as well.
"For me," Cissell continued. "I can't think of a better recruiting tool than to go to the girls in the Kansas City area that we are recruiting and say that UMKC is also the facilities of FC Kansas City. It's going to help our recruiting efforts."
Fewer seats = greater demand?
Last season FC Kansas City averaged over 4500 and had the lowest ticket prices in the league.
"We anticipate every game will be a sellout," Budzinski predicted. "It's good to create a demand and quite frankly, other than for two or three games we had too big of a stadium for what we were drawing. I think now you will see more people wanting to come and not all of them will be able to get in."
Good move for FC Kansas City?
- No football lines (big issue for aesthetics and national broadcast coverage)
- Should be a better environment and atmosphere with fans closer to players (expected in KC now)
- The playing surface is a huge step up; the surface at Shawnee Mission District Stadium was not great. The field at UMKC is still turf but it was designed with soccer in mind and is a much better surface.
- Stadium is near the Plaza and walking distance from other food and drink. Pre/Post game party options greatly increased.
- Less seats may drive ticket price increase. This is a con for some fans at least but ticket price increase can drive perceived value and build for future.
- Much better surface but still not grass
What do you think? Any Pros or Cons not listed?