MLS All-Star Game is chance to show off “new Kansas City”

07/26/2013 1:02 PM

07/26/2013 1:02 PM

A year after Kansas City played host to the MLB All-Star Game, maybe it seems like having the MLS version here on Wednesday is a matter of routine that pales in significance for the city.

But to the relentlessly enterprising souls at Sporting Kansas City, who think in terms of swimming upstream and paradigm shifts, that’s the last thing it is.

“What we’re really trying to do is just do the best Major League Soccer All-Star Game that’s ever been, that’s kind of the goal for us,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said Thursday. “Let’s not just be an also-ran, let’s be a model.

“So that’s the way that we’re approaching this event. How do we create an event for Kansas City that is really special?”

There is no specific way to measure whether it will be the best ever, of course, but the notion extends beyond soccer itself to showcasing how the crackling vibe at Sporting Park reflects the region.

“For all these people coming to Kansas City who may have the perception that this is kind of a cowtown, the theme of this is really, ‘This is the new Kansas City; this is what Kansas City is really about,’” Heineman said. “You may think of it as just a barbecue place, but we think of it as a place that has tons of young, award-winning chefs who are doing fantastic things.

“You may think of it as kind of a dirt-road, country-type place. Well, no, we’ve got tons of great live music here …

“This is about showing off the new Kansas City, what Kansas City really is.”

Coming from him, it Sounds worth staying tuned, and probably not just for visitors or newcomers like me.

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