Friday, October 31, 2014

The Experience was Everything

What an incredible run? I don't even know where to begin. I guess to start let me just say how blessed I am to have gotten to witness such an improbable story about a team that simply refused to quit. For Kansas City the last few weeks have represented so much more than W's on a baseball scorecard. For the city it represented rebirth.

Once upon a time, the city of Kansas City was betrayed by the team they loved. Shortly after the exodus, Ewing Kauffman brought baseball back to the city which adored it. Through shrewd moves and a dedication to developing talent from within the Royals developed into the model franchise of professional baseball. This was not only the case on the field, but in a time when cookie cutter parks were the norm, only Kauffman Stadium and Dodger Stadium continue to represent the beauty of their era.

Expressing their love for the team, the fans came in droves. For 18 straight seasons the Royals posted attendance totals above the American League average. This stretch peaked in 1989, when the team averaged over 30,000 fans per game for the only time in the franchise's history. Will this magical season push the Royals past that mark again in 2015?

In 2014, the team averaged 24,154 per game. It isn't unreasonable to expect a jump of about 3-4,000 per game next season. A jump of 3,000 per game would give the Royals nearly 2.2 million fans on the season and would be their highest total since the 1990 season. Even if the Royals could just average 537 more fans per game next season they will top the 2 million mark since the first time since 1991.

What do you think Royals fans? Can we collectively push this team over the 30,000 per game mark for just the second time in team history? It is undoubtedly a tall order, but this city has fallen in love with this team.

For me the October magic brought back memories. I was reminded of school nights when I was supposed to be tucked sound in my bed, but instead would sneak into the living room to watch the game with my dad. It reminded me of the time I got home from school and my dad was parked in the drive way and said to get in, we are going to go watch the Royals take on Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners.

These are the things that the Royals postseason has reminded us of. Sports aren't just about winning or losing. If they were then why would so many people choose a hobby in which every night, half of the participants wind up disappointed?

What this postseason run has reminded me of is the beauty of the game. It reminds me of how integral of a role that it has played in the relationships of my life. While I consider myself to be an extremely analytical fan, over the last year and a half I have wondered if this approach somehow detracts from my enjoyment of watching the game that I love. Expected win percentages and projected records. If we can pinpoint these things so distinctly then why do we even watch? We watch because even if there is an 87% chance that the Royals win between 79-86 games, there is still a 13% chance that they don't. Somewhere in those odds is the opportunity for something incredible to be witnessed. This season the Royals have reminded me of that.

In 20 years, when we look back on the 2014 season, we won't explain that the Royals playoff odds were set at 23% at the start of the season. We won't talk about how at one point during Game Four their series win expectancy stood at 83%. We will talk about the moments that defined the season. We will talk about how this team overcame two deficits of more than 7 games in the division. We will talk about Lorenzo Cain's diving catches, Jarrod Dyson's stolen bases, Alex Gordon's throws, and the two young stud pitchers who shoved it.

More importantly than that we will talk about our personal highlights. The moment in the Wild Card game when the man beside you started sobbing after Hosmer dove in to first to beat out a throw in the top of the tenth. Or the night spent with your dad and brothers in the upper deck during the ALCS. Or the time you were so happy that the Royals came back on Jon Lester that you kissed your friend on the cheek. These are the moments that sports are all about.

The Royals were just the third team in baseball history to lose Game Seven with the tying run on third base when the final out was made. The Royals are also the winningiest team from a single postseason to not earn World Series rings. By all accounts all Royals fans should be heart broken today. But I'm not heart broken. In fact, I feel more love for this team and these fans than I have felt in my entire life and I know one thing for certain.... Just wait until next year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Naming Rights for "The K"

This morning Front Row Analytics posted a very interesting tweet regarding the naming rights of Kauffman Stadium. As you can see above the company estimates that a sponsor could have generated approximately $28.1 million in advertising value from having its name plastered on Kauffman throughout the postseason.

Some of you might recall past rumors about the naming rights to Kauffman Stadium. In 2011, Yahoo reported that the team had sold the rights  for $3-6 million annually over the next 21 years. Later it was reported that a deal had fallen through with US Bank to acquire the naming rights to the stadium known affectionately by Royals fans as "The K."

I come from a background in sports marketing and sales and so I realize as well as anyone that everything has a price. This is especially true when it comes to sports marketing and promotion. However, I couldn't get myself to be accepting of selling the Kauffman name for just $3-6 million per season. Roughly enough to add a utility player or middle reliever to the roster. 

What Front Row Analytics illustrates though is how quality performance can boost revenue across the board. Not only will the Royals sell more seats in 2015 than they have for twenty years, but they will also see an increase in advertising and sponsorship revenue as a result. More butts in the seats means more eyes on the field, eyes on the screens, and ears next to radios. These things equate to dollars. 

I'm not sure what it would take for me to be happy to hear that the Royals have sold the naming rights to Kauffman Stadium. Would $6-10 million be enough to get the job done? Would $10-15 million per year make it worth it? Obviously, that sort of money could be a huge boon to the payroll of the franchise and more important to me than the name of the stadium is the product on the field.

For many fans, there is no number that could make such an action acceptable. What we must remember is that no matter the name scripted on to the facade of the building it will always be "The K" for us. 


Wow! Where do I even begin? As many of you know this blog has been eerily quiet over the past four months. After posting a record number of times and receiving a record number of page views all throughout the Spring (thank you all for taking the time to read our ramblings), this blog slipped into near non-existence throughout the summer months.

First, let me explain why that was the case. You see when a man loves a woman...

Let's try this again. First let me explain myself.

This last summer, I was busy planning a wedding, honeymoon, and beginning the process of remodeling a house. The wedding was completed on October 11 and my loving wife allowed the ALDS to be played during the reception. The honeymoon was finished on Sunday, October 26. Again my wonderful wife allowed us to watch each of the games while we were in Vancouver and Seattle. Finally, my home is should to be finished this afternoon. On top of all of this I have also been pursuing an MBA and working a full time job.

I do not believe that I am necessarily any busier than the rest of you, but when it came to time management, unfortunately, posting to this site was the first sacrifice. Hopefully, we can get back to writing as usual as we move forward!

As for the rest of the blog team, Dan Ware is engaged and planning a wedding/honeymoon for next summer. He is also searching for schools to continue his post graduate learning. Paden Bennett was married this summer, a wedding that myself and Dan were fortunate to be a part of. Joe Cox moved twice and has started a new job. Finally, Nathan Bramwell finished up his MBA a couple of months ago and has transitioned to a new home and job back in our hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Nick Allen may stop in from time to time, but you can also find his excellent work on Fly War Eagle and TripSided.

What I am saying is that for our blog team it has been the perfect storm, but we have stayed as active as possible on Twitter and have simply enjoyed the ride that we are on.

We'll be with you tonight Royals nation as our Boys in Blue seek to cap off what has been one of the most incredible runs in sports history. Regardless of the outcome, consider the Royals Revived!

You can find our team on Twitter at the following handles:

Landon Adams - @Landon_Adams
Nicholas Allen - @NicholasIAllen
Paden Bennett - @PadenBennett22
Nathan Bramwell - @tipof_arrowhead
Daniel Ware - @Daniel_L_Ware