If you want to set a world record, all it takes is determination and ability. But if you want to set a Guinness World Record and be able to boast about it the same day, it takes something else.
Cold hard cash.
Case in point: the Kansas City Chiefs, who paid at least $8,000 to fly a Guinness adjudicator from New York for Monday’s attempt to reclaim the title of loudest stadium in the world.
During a timeout at Arrowhead, the crowd’s roar reached 142.2 decibels, smashing the mark of 137.6 registered last year at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Chiefs trumpeted the accomplishment on the stadium’s video board, which was shown on national TV: “Arrowhead is now the loudest stadium in the world again.”
It was the second time Chiefs fans set the record.
Jamie Panas Antoniou, a Guinness spokeswoman in New York, said breaking Guinness records is free, unless you want to pay for an adjudicator to attend your event and certify the accomplishment on the spot. Potential record-breakers must cover travel and other costs. Prices start at $8,000 and vary depending on the type of event.
You can thank Joe Tafoya of Seattle for starting all this “loudest stadium in the world” business. The former NFL defensive end, who had played with the Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, remembered a defining moment in his career.
“It was a moment of inspiration before the 2005 NFC championship game vs. the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink,” he said. “Before the game the equipment manager opened the locker room door and let in the noise from the field. It charged everyone up so much we handily won the game and made it to the Super Bowl that year.”
That gave Tafoya an idea. Why not try to set a record and have CenturyLink be named the loudest stadium in the world? He researched the topic and sent an application to Guinness for an official attempt during the Seahawks game vs. the San Francisco 49ers in September 2013. A month later Guinness approved the attempt.
He wasn’t sure what to do next. He paid the $10,000 out of his own pocket to fly the Guinness official to Seattle and then did “guerrilla marketing” to whip up interest.
“My intention was to let fans know that it mattered from a player’s perspective how much they yelled and screamed,” he said.
That record did not sit well with a group of Chiefs fans, who then spearheaded an effort to claim the record for Arrowhead. Kansas City broke the record the next month, only to see Seattle get it back that December.
While this season’s effort to reclaim the record came from Chiefs fans, the club agreed to pay to fly in Guinness adjudicator Philip Robertson from New York. The Chiefs also paid for a sound meter that met Guinness’ guidelines.
“We felt that the fee and coordination efforts are a small price to pay in order for Chiefs fans to be immediately rewarded for their effort and enthusiasm to once again make Arrowhead Stadium the loudest stadium in the NFL,” said Bill Chapin, senior vice president of business operations for the Chiefs.
Tafoya acknowledged the record on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to the Kansas City Chief fans for being the world’s loudest crowd,” he wrote. “142.2 is incredibly loud. That place must be rocking!”
Asked one friend: “Are we doing it again?”
If Tafoya has a plan to regain the record, he wasn’t tipping his hand.
“It’s been incredible,” he said of the good-natured competition. “And it has drawn a lot of positivity back to the sport that I love.”
Stay tuned, noise lovers.
To reach James A. Fussell, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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