Kansas City, you are unbelievable.
What I witnessed at the city’s celebration of the Kansas City Royals baseball World Championship is nearly indescribable. It was, by all accounts, unprecedented.
Records likely aren’t kept for this type of event, but authorities estimated 800,000 people descended on downtown Kansas City for the parade and ceremony to celebrate the Royals five-game World Series triumph over the New York Mets. For a city whose population within the metroplex is about two million, that is a phenomenal number.
It wasn’t just the pure numbers. It’s the way the city and the fans handled the celebration. First class all the way. No damage, no violence, no incidents to defray the attention away from the reason everybody was there. Just great fans, euphoric about their team, basking in the glory of the ultimate achievement in sport.
It was the culmination of a phenomenon that has been building in Kansas City over the past two years.
In my 30 years in the sports business, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to, and engage with, virtually every major league city in the U.S. Each city has its special traditions and passionate fan base. But never have I seen a love affair between a city and team like what has happened to Kansas Citians and their Royals.
The cool thing is that this adoration is not a one-way street. While the fans have poured into the stadium in droves and supported the team relentlessly, the Royals organization and their players have returned the love in authentic ways.
The players have become part of the community. They embrace the fans, not hide from them. Many of the players leave the stadium after big games and head to the downtown Power & Light District to celebrate with the fans. After their ALCS championship at home, many of the players recreated the clubhouse champagne celebration with fans at one of the local establishments. Unheard of in today’s era of professional athletes.
That’s why the people of Kansas City flooded downtown in unthinkable numbers to celebrate this great moment. Some abandoned their cars on the side of the highway so they wouldn’t miss it. Masses of blue-clad bodies everywhere. Schools were closed. Business shut down.
You see, Kansas City baseball fans feel like they have been a big part of this team’s success. And Royals players have made it clearly known the feeling is mutual. At the championship parade, the players all wore “Thank You Kansas City” shirts. Their comments all had the same theme – “we did this together.”
For one day, everybody was united with one common purpose. It was the ultimate example of how a sports championship can bring a city together. And Kansas City showed the world how to do it right.
Our team at Premier is privileged to conduct our sports business operations in this great city in Mid-America. While our work extends from coast to coast, we love having home base in this amazing city.
We are KC proud.