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New Sporting KC Jersey (Sponsor) and Record Revenues

President and CEO Jake Reid weighs in on lots of matters concerning SKC.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Sporting KC Peter G. Aiken

No, the new 2020 secondary Sporting Kansas City jersey isn’t being unveiled early. Instead, the team announced in a story in The Star that they would be parting ways with their jersey sponsor after 2020. That means Ivy Investments (formerly Ivy Funds) will only be on the front of the jersey for one more season.

In addition to that change, there will be a new sleeve sponsor in 2020 after MLS announced that was now allowed. The sleeve sponsor will be roughly 2.5” by 2.5”. It’s unclear how much money is on the line for that sleeve spot, but for the main spot up front, Kansas City’s CEO and President Jake Reid confirmed that the value of the new jersey sponsor replacing Ivy Investments will “likely increase.” He wasn’t specific, but currently teams get between $4 million and $10 million a year. SKC did confirm it’s their most lucrative sponsor. Moreso than the stadium naming rights which belong to Children’s Mercy Hospitals.

But it’s not all jersey sponsor news leaking out of Reid.

Sporting KC are Crushing it in Revenue

No fan wants to hear this when they just had their worst season in nine years, but apparently the business side of SKC did quite well. Reid confirmed revenue was higher again in 2019, despite a (minor) dip in ticket sales. “We’ve had our best year every year for the last, oh gosh, probably seven or eight years running now,” said Reid. He did go on to say the team doesn’t generate a big profit and they are “right around break even.”

That gives some solace to fans that are sad with their team’s perceived lack of spending. It shows the organization is at least putting that money back into the team. The team dipped from 5th in annual salaries to 10th after the mutual parting of ways with Yohan Croizet. And they confirmed recently they’ve only spent $4 million lifetime in transfer fees.

However, they have invested extensively in their academy as well as their state-of-the-art Pinnacle Training facility.

I personally wonder sometimes if not showing a profit is just an accounting trick.

Without Reid being specific, it’s hard to tell exactly where the money is going (or how much of it is coming in). The organization as a whole is growing, so costs are probably up everywhere which will inevitably eat into revenues. As long as they follow through on their promise to spend in the offseason, most fans will likely accept that as a move in the right direction.

We want to be the “Green Bay of our league”

In a comment that got some flak on social media, Reid talked about how Sporting KC will never be the Dallas Cowboys of the league. He went on to say, “the [Green Bay] Packers are probably where we would aspire to be. If we could be the Green Bay of our league, where you’ve got an incredibly small market and you’re successful on and off the field, I mean that’s a great case study to look at.”

Green Bay, Wisconsin has a meager population of 105,116 (as of 2017). The Kansas City metro on the other hand has a population of 2,143,651. That’s more than 20 times as many people. And Green Bay is in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin and outside of the Packers, the city really doesn’t have a ton going for it.

That said, I don’t think that is what Reid meant. It’s probably not worded the best, but he seems to aspire to have the small-market success the Packers have. They’ll never be the biggest city or destination, but they are a team that consistently compete for championships and are historically in the upper echelon of the league. I wouldn’t compare your city to Green Bay when prospective foreign transfers are talking of coming to town.

Maybe a better comparison would be the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are in a city roughly the size of KC and they are one of the winningest teams in NFL history (despite their somewhat down year). Though, don’t say Pittsburgh to those European and South American imports either.

Attendance and Season Tickets

There were several other important tidbits buried in the story from The Star.

  • The attendance average was 18,601 in 2019. Capacity is 18,467, so they averaged a sell-out. Anyone watching the game can see the stadium had a lot more empty seats than usual, but this is just sales, not who shows up, despite it being reported as attendance.
  • While the average “attendance” was down, it was minimal compared to the Kansas City Royals who are down around one million fans buying tickets since the 2015 World Series win. Then again, there are 17 MLS home games and 81 for the Royals.
  • 89% of season ticket holders renewed for 2020. That is also down slightly, but still pretty strong considering SKC nearly finished last in the Western Conference.