out there today that says Sporting Kansas City is the front-runner to host the 2011 MLS All-Star game against Spanish giants Barcelona.
Well, before you start making your plans to see Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, David Villa and friends, know this: When I contacted Sporting Kansas City's PR guys this afternoon, they shared my surprise at this news. At this point it's pure speculation. (They also wondered, as did I, what Steve Davis' source was.)
"The eye-catcher to that piece was that Kansas City’s glistening new stadium (it will glisten, I assure you) was the surprise lead candidate to host the match. But there was a catch. An MLS All-Star game in Kansas City only made financial sense if domestic soccer deciders and promoters could partner the game with other stops for Barca. See, the cost to bring Barcelona for a one-stop pop would approach $2 million."
This isn't to say that the KC owner's haven't tried to bring the All-Star game to our town; Kansas City president Robb Heineman said last year that they wanted to bring as many soccer games to KC as possible. But, for this particular story, it appears as if the source is from somewhere else. It's entirely possible that Davis' source is with the league itself.
So, for what it's worth, this is either a rather enticing bit of gossip or a very-deep sourced nugget of truth. Hard to tell which is right.
To me though, here's the catch of the All-Star game with Barca at the new stadium: It will only seat 18,500 people. A club of Barca's size and likability could easily match (or eclipse) the 50,000-plus that went to Arrowhead last summer.
Wouldn't it make more sense to host Barcelona at Arrowhead where you could maximize the crowd and revenue? Of course, putting it in Arrowhead would negate half the draw of hosting it in Kansas City (i.e., hosting it at the "glistening" new stadium).
Feel free to weigh in on this gossip/news in the comments.