Lawrence's loss is Kansas City's gain.
Government officials in Kansas City, Mo., are looking forward to collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in anticipated sales taxes and other revenues from next season's football clash between Kansas University and the University of Missouri.
Instead of filling Memorial Stadium in Lawrence with thousands of fans, drawing dozens of vendors and triggering massive spending in Lawrence on Thanksgiving weekend, all that commerce will be headed across the state line to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. A year later, Missouri's home game against KU will be played at Arrowhead.
Mike Sanders can't wait.
"For us, it's an absolute win-win," said Sanders, a longtime MU season-ticker holder who took office as Jackson County executive three weeks ago. "This is a circumstance where taxpayers and, I think, Jackson County come out the real winner here - and we get to watch two great football games."
The decision to settle their rivalry at Arrowhead for the next two seasons will more than make up for an anticipated loss of a Kansas City Chiefs home game, Sanders said.
At the NFL's instruction, the Chiefs are lining up to play a future game overseas, a move that has been criticized by city, county and state leaders because of an anticipated loss of tax revenue. According to the city of Kansas City, each Chiefs home game triggers $8.4 million in spending at the stadium alone - an average of $107 per fan for tickets, parking, concessions, souvenirs and anything else while on site at the Truman Sports Complex.
That would translate to Kansas City missing out on about $200,000 in sales tax revenue for a game taken overseas, the city says, while the state would lose out on even more, while the county would go without about $100,000.
Mike Sanders, Jackson County executive, on his prediction for next season's KU-MU football game
The consternation eased with this week's announcement for KU-MU in KC.
"Those two games will more than make up for one game lost by the Chiefs," Sanders said.
Cindy Smith, director of national events for the Kansas City Sports Commission, said that this year's KU-MU game would cap an eventful sports week in the city: a college basketball tournament, featuring MU, to open the Sprint Center; a probable Chiefs game Thanksgiving night; and the Jayhawks-Tigers clash Saturday at Arrowhead.
KU is in negotiations to play in the hoops tournament in '08.
"It's a tremendous week of sports - fun and exciting things in Kansas City," Smith said. "We're very excited."