Owners of major league sports teams and their players love talking about how they are supported by the “greatest fans in the world.”
Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt is among those who often praise the fans at Arrowhead Stadium. Playing there is a great benefit for the club, as Hunt pointed out in a 2010 interview:
“...There is still nothing like being part of the communal experience of being in a stadium on a Sunday rooting with your friends for your hometown team to win the game. This past Sunday was a great example of that — the fans played a tremendous role in helping us get a victory over the Arizona Cardinals. And that’s been true all season long.”
Alas, it was announced Thursday that the Chiefs will be playing one less home game in 2015, because they will be “hosting” the Detroit Lions on Nov. 1 of that year in London.
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But if you’re a student of the National Football League, you know who’s really calling the shots here: The NFL brass (led by disgraced commissioner Roger Goodell) and NFL team owners, including Hunt.
The NFL’s “International Series” is part of the NFL’s grand plan to try to grow the sport overseas. Frankly, it’s always looked a little ridiculous, because eventually placing an actual franchise or two in London won’t make a lot of financial sense — or in creating real rivalries with all the teams located in the United States.
Still, this will be trumpeted by Hunt and other team officials as a way to grow the “brand” of the Chiefs overseas. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders went overboard today, for example, talking about how “the world will see the best fans and best franchise in the NFL!”
To that kind of statement, most Chiefs fans will say — so what?
These fans are paying higher sales taxes to finance the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of renovations the Chiefs made to Arrowhead in the prior decade.
In return, the fans just want the Chiefs to play eight meaningful home regular-season games every year.
Next year, that number will shrink to seven, thanks to the NFL.