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Archive for Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sporting KC hits home run with Livestrong Sporting Park

March 9, 2011

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— Until Monday, I always thought nobody ever had crushed a ball farther out of the park with a stadium naming than the New York Yankees when they branded their spring training home Legends Field.

Now it ranks no better than second place, and a distant second at that.

Sporting Kansas City will hold its home soccer matches at Livestrong Sporting Park, so christened at a Tuesday announcement in which world-famous cyclist and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong participated.

Now, all who attend a Major League Soccer match or a concert at the $200-million, under-construction, state-of-the-art stadium, will think about a loved one stung by cancer.

Normally, ownership groups put naming rights up for auction. In this case, the money’s going in the other direction. A portion of ticket and concession revenues will be sent to Livestrong, Armstrong’s charitable cancer-fighting foundation. Robb Heineman, president of Sporting KC, said he expects as much as $10 million to be raised for the Austin, Texas-based charity during the six-year agreement.

That’s not the only interesting anti-cancer wrinkle here. No tobacco products are allowed in the stadium or outside it.

The brand Livestrong, the word that appears on more than 70 million yellow bracelets throughout the world, has left many wondering about its origin.

“We went around the world and interviewed thousands of cancer survivors and we asked them to tell us their story, tell us about your struggle, tell us about what you’ve dealt with, what you’re thinking,” Armstrong said.

So they did.

“We listened to these stories, thousands of them, and at the end of it all we came up with the idea that these people understand what it means to live strong,” Armstrong said. “It became the name. It went on the band. It became the brand, and it is now going to be on the outside of the stadium.”

Livestrong president and CEO Doug Ulman also attended the announcement. Then 19 and playing soccer at Brown University in 1997, Ulman was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as chondrosarcoma. Armstrong sent him an e-mail offering to help. Ulman wasn’t familiar with the name then. They became e-mail friends for a couple of years and Armstrong invited him to Austin, Texas to work for him.

Ulman can’t wait to attend a soccer match at Livestrong Sporting Park.

“The seating bowl is right on top of the field,” Ulman gushed. “The quality of the viewing angles is second to none. The technology, the field itself ... I think the players are going to leave thinking it’s the best stadium they’ve played in.”

Livestrong Sporting Park is scheduled to open June 9, when the Chicago Fire battles Sporting KC and cancer.

Comments

boothillbilly 3 years, 9 months ago

This is why I love being a Wizards oops, I mean Sporting fan! Way to go SKC! Best sports team in the metro.

Shardwurm 3 years, 9 months ago

If Sporting KC actually hit home runs then people might actually be interested in them.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 9 months ago

People already WERE interested in them. Now, even more so. Good job, Sporting KC!

Shardwurm 3 years, 9 months ago

lol

Soccer: After 50 years it's STILL the next big sport in America.

FarneyMac 3 years, 9 months ago

Nobody here said it's the "next big sport" except for you. It's a sport with a dedicated, gradually-increasing following in this country. Will it ever "replace" football, basketball, or baseball? No, of course not. But who cares? Why so threatened by it? If you don't like it, don't watch. But it's OK to like soccer and still like other sports - it's not one or the other.

Brains - they're useful!

justforfun 3 years, 9 months ago

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's still soccer! Sleep tight!!

Bursting 3 years, 9 months ago

Well I guess at least the stadium has reasoning behind it's name. Unlike the team... BRING BACK WIZARDS, MLS needs to quit copycatting stupid Euro club names. "Sporting" really? I think America knows soccer is a sport at this point.

Gareth Skarka 3 years, 9 months ago

Most fans appreciate the "stupid Euro" names -- because we recognize that this is THE WORLD'S SPORT. Sticking infantile American-style "nickname" team names on teams meant to participate in a world-wide organization (FIFA) is what's ridiculous, and makes it less likely that we're taken seriously.

Go back to watching NASCAR. Obviously more your thing.

Bursting 3 years, 9 months ago

Gareth:

Individualism is what makes the US so great. You actually think Europeans give a sh*t about what our club names/mascotts are? Not one person I've talked to appreciates the name being changed, it only seems that people for one reason or another don't like the wizard of oz associating with our soccer name? FIFA is corrupt and close-minded, havn't you watched the ref's performances in the world cup? It's a joke and so is FIFA.

And by the way, nascar isn't my thing, i like soccer better. I do appreciate my freedom of speech though so forget you buddy, you mean nothing to me.

Bursting 3 years, 9 months ago

Gareth:

Individualism is what makes the US so great. You actually think Europeans give a sh*t about what our club names/mascotts are? Not one person I've talked to appreciates the name being changed, it only seems that people for one reason or another don't like the wizard of oz associating with our soccer name? FIFA is corrupt and close-minded, havn't you watched the ref's performances in the world cup? It's a joke and so is FIFA.

And by the way, nascar isn't my thing, i like soccer better. I do appreciate my freedom of speech though so forget you buddy, you mean nothing to me.

Richard Payton 3 years, 9 months ago

Maybe a crow will fly over the stadium and drop a load. The crow will be sure to use one square to wipe.

SoccerFanatic 3 years, 9 months ago

Such a neat concept...can't wait to go to games there and cheer on my team while simultaneously supporting a good cause.

Gareth Skarka 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, How dare they put a soccer stadium in a mixed-use retail/entertainment complex where there's already a nascar track and a baseball stadium... I mean, what were they thinking? Totally out of place.

....

Are you suffering from Alzheimers or something?

Steve Jacob 3 years, 9 months ago

My first thought too was what happens if they do get a smoking gun on Lance Armstrong, will the name come off? Is it possible to win so many races when everyone else was on steroids? I am curious to what concerts they get. What acts are to big for Sprint Center but to small for Arrowhead. Radiohead?

Gareth Skarka 3 years, 9 months ago

Bands never sell out Arrowhead, so size isn't the issue. Concert promoters will choose Livestrong Sporting Park over Arrowhead because it's far more advanced technologically, meaning better screens, lighting, electrical infrastructure, etc.

Even with the renovation, Arrowhead isn't quite there yet.

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