The Sprint Center was expected to be a savior of downtown Kansas City, pulling in area residents who would shop, dine and drink downtown and helping to pull in out of area visitors who would spend tourism dollars. But, while there have been a few high profile successes, the Sprint Center has generally fallen below expectations.
We have documented here before the lack of an anchor tenant and the unlikelihood of one coming anytime soon. Officials in the city and at the Sprint Center have insisted that the arena could survive with other events, but we doubt that is true. We have asked for a public accounting.
Let’s look forward, for example. On the July calendar there are five nights for Cirque de Soleil, and only one concert. In August there are only four dates booked (and we are told that Bruce Springsteen isn’t sold out!). In September, only six dates, including five appearances by the circus, which would have been at Kemper regardless. October through December only has nine dates on the calendar.
That is a grand total of twenty-five dates in six months, just over four dates a month. Does anyone think the Sprint Center can pull a profit with those numbers? Sure they may add an event or two later in that period, but they would have to triple the number of dates to make it as impressive as what they sold voters when they asked for public support.
The fact of the matter is, outside a nice opening salvo with Garth Brooks and an obvious winner in the Big 12 tournament, the Sprint Center is failing. And ultimately it will be Kansas City taxpayers that take the hit if it continues to under perform.
Once again we call on the Sprint Center to tell Kansas City voters how they are doing with the investment we gave them.