Archive for August, 2017

Kansas City Arena Football

August 21, 2017

Kansas City Arena Football History

Season Team Name Record Average Attendance Venue League
2006 Brigade 3-13 15,234 Kemper AFL
2007 Brigade 10-6 11,894 Kemper AFL
2008 Brigade 3-13 12,828 Sprint AFL
2011 Command 6-12 4,353 Sprint AFL
2012 Command 3-15 4,303 Sprint AFL
2013 Renegades 8-4 unknown Sprint CPIFL
2017 Phantoms 4-8 unknown Indep CIF

While the opening season of Arena Football in Kansas City was, for lack of better words, dismal, the team turned it all around their second year at Kemper Arena as they found their way to the AFL Playoffs.  Renamed “The Hangar” by Brigade fans, Kemper Arena was a great venue for Arena Football as there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house, and there was plenty of room for what looked to be a successful venture.  But the Brigade was lured away from Kemper Arena in 2008 for the new Sprint Arena, and the team’s success in 2008 pretty much defined the feelings of the fans who found Sprint Center to be less friendly and less of a value for their sports entertainment dollar.  In fact, a number of Season Ticket holders were making it clear that they were either dropping their Season Tickets or 2009 would be a last chance for the venue and team to address the list of complaints Brigade fans had.

But there would not be a 2009 Season.  The AFL would close for reorganization after the 2008 Season, and it would be 2011 before Arena Football would return to Kansas City as the Kansas City Command.  Unfortunately for the Command, the changes in the AFL, the means of which the Brigade handled the shutdown of the league, and the return of the team to Sprint Center was clearly reflected in fan support as attendance dropped from an average of over 10,000 to less than half of that for the next two years.  What were the primary complaints that kept the old Brigade fans from returning to support the Command?  Sprint Center was not a friendly venue.  The cost of attending the games jumped, the design of the arena had a lot of the fans who couldn’t afford lower level tickets setting a lot farther from the field.  There was the parking situation where if you wanted to park close to the Arena you were looking at 10 to 15 dollars per event, and until the final season there wasn’t a place for tailgating.

Under the original AFL rules, players were to come out on the field after the game to sign autographs for the fans.  However, after the team moved to Sprint Center, the KCP&L Entertainment district were luring players away to their businesses instead of appearing on the field.  This didn’t settle well with old Arena Football Fans who couldn’t or wouldn’t take their children to the businesses that were pulling the players away.  As fan support of the team dwindled, the support of the KCP&L businesses dwindled as well, and some started to speculate if there would be a 2009 Brigade Season, most fans not on top of the troubles the League was suffering.

After the reorganization of the Arena Football League in 2009, it would be 2011 before Arena Football would return to Kansas City under the new team name … The Command.  Same logo, same uniforms, just a change of team name and some familiar faces missing.  The new AFL had lost a lot of its top players.  It was being reported that the players weren’t being paid as much as they had before the reorganization, and the level of play was suffering.  In Kansas City, there was the memory of how the team closed it’s doors.  Those Season Ticket holders that had decided to give the team one more season, those who had become Season Ticket holders after a substantial price cut, were not notified of the closure by the team, but found out through the media.  Instead of the team notifying those who had purchased Season Tickets that a refund was due, the people who had paid for their tickets at the end of the season had to contact the team and all but demand their money back.  Those who were willing to support the new team and return to the Sprint Center were significantly less than those who supported the Brigade.  After two losing seasons, the Command closed their doors in 2012, to be replaced by new owners and a new look for the 2013 Season.

Returning as a part of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, the Kansas City Renegades opened their only season at the Sprint Center.  The team actually scored a season above .500 as a part of the new league, but once again failed to gain fan support.  When the team was not supported by the Kansas City Sport Authority, the owner of the team said that he was closing operations and if he returned to Arena Football it would not be in Kansas City.

Over the next few years there was talk of bringing Women’s Arena Football to Kansas City.  Now, before you become too intrigued as a Arena Football fan, look up the Lingerie Football League (LFL) and the Leather and Lace Football League (if it’s still around).  This level of football is often referred as the panties and sports bra league.  While the ladies try to be serious about the game, the fans are mostly men who are there for the scenery and not the game.  I personally noticed that most of the girls that were being lined up for the Leather and Lace Football League being talked about were girls who seemed to spend a lot of time promoting local Gentlemen’s clubs.  That’s right, the joke about strippers playing football was pretty close to being true.  But the team never got off the ground.

Then, in 2016, talk started circulating about a new Arena Football Team coming to Kansas City.  The most intriguing thing about the new team was that the team would be playing it’s games at the Independence Event Center, a small arena with an occupancy of around 8,500 seats.  This would be perfect for a lower level league like the Champions Football League.  The problem would be that many of the Arena Football Fans in Kansas City had been burned more than once, many of them had lost faith in the leagues.  But this was in Independence.  It was a nice arena with ample FREE parking, and like Kemper Arena, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.  With former members of the AFL and the Indoor Football League (IFL), the Kansas City Phantoms took the field in March of 2017.  Unfortunately, the team got off to a dismal start, going 1-8 before winning their final three games at home for a season record of 4-8.

Kansas City is a fickle market.  We have been disappointed too many times by losing Arena Football Teams that simply close their doors.  Attendance struggled through the season, and the team was running a lot of promos to get people to attend games.  Tickets being handed out by a radio station, premium seats being sold for $10 for the final game to get people in the doors.  Some of us were concerned that there would not be a 2018 Phantoms Season.  But word came out during the final three games that there would be a 2018 Phantoms season, and that the cost of Season Tickets would be a lower price.

One can hope that the 2018 Season will be an exciting one.  Not only for the Phantoms but for the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF).  A team that dropped out of Arena Football, the Quad-City Steamwheelers are returning to the League.  Unfortunately, the Dodge City Law are dropping out.  But there are rumors of two IFL teams joining the CIF, and that there are five more teams that are in the application process.  These rumors talk of several IFL teams joining the more localized CIF in 2018, and that will change the CIF, hopefully expanding the short 12 game season to 16 games.  The question is, if this happens and the Kansas City Phantoms become a successful franchise, will the cost of tickets rise back up to some of the highest in the CIF?

Yes, when you look around the league, the ticket prices for the Phantoms are above average.  I followed the team to Wichita and Omaha in 2017.  At the original ticket prices for the Phantoms, I was getting better seats and a lower price at both venues than I was at home.  So I was pleased when it was announced that ticket prices would be going down for 2018.

I have my season tickets for 2018.  My last three games were spent front row (on the wall) at the 25 yard line.  Incredible seats, had a lot of fun.  I will be returning to those seats, leaning on the wall and making my voice heard during the games.  My only concern is the class of characters that will end up in my section.  Being an old AFL fan I appreciated the family friendly rules that the AFL demanded.  It was an environment that I didn’t mind taking my children to, unlike the insanity that Arrowhead Stadium has become known for.

New Communications Setup

August 12, 2017

So, I mentioned it in my geocaching blog that I was in the process of moving.  With that situation comes a need to change my entertainment and internet options.  Now, for the past however many years it’s been I’ve been dealing with Centurylink DSL, and analog Direct TV.  Direct TV has been okay, I really can’t complain.  But I can complain about the service I have receive from Centurylink.  To be frank, Centurylink DSL out here in the country sucks.  10mb down is more along the lines of 7 to 8.  Then there is the pricing.  You make a deal with them, and when the deal runs out, no warning, your bill goes from 45 or 50 a month to 80 or 85 a month.  Work out a deal, its not that good.  So, with the move I did my homework and here is how it worked out.

CenturyLink has a monopoly on DSL and phone service in my area.  So when you try to deal with Direct TV and their bundle packages you don’t have many options.  But CenturyLink offered up a deal for DSL and Direct TV.  When it all shook out, I was looking at around 160 a month for basic Satellite and 50mb internet.

Let’s talk Xfinity.  The jury is still out.  I have not seen the first bill.  I have heard about taxes and extras, but we’ll see what happens on the first bill.

Three year deal.  Premium Cable Package – 250mb Internet – Digital Home Phone … 120 per month, 137 after all taxes are added on.  That was the quote.  Three year price guarantee, two year agreement.  More bang for the buck and a lower price.  We will see how this all shakes out in the long run, there will always be Direct TV.

So, 72 hours in …

Speed Tests on the internet on two different computers.  Desk Top I’m getting 45 to 55 mb down.  Laptop is getting 135 to 150 mb down.  There’s a little bit of lag in system, but so far its better than I am used to.  I will be doing some tweaking on the system to see if I can get my speeds up.

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Puddle Jumpers 2017

August 5, 2017

Puddle Jumper Days takes place every year on the first weekend of August in downtown Odessa Missouri.  It is a classic street fair with food vendors, music, crafts, junk, and music.  However, over the past decade the annual event has been losing support from vendors and the residents of Odessa.  The loss of support from the community is directly related to the decline in vendors showing up for the event, and while it would be easy to blame the economy for the decline of vendors, there has been some talk about costs to have a booth at this small event.

Regardless, 2017 started off slow, and unfortunately died a miserable death on Saturday when rain settled in and pretty much stuck around for the day.  The forecast was for 3 to 4 inches of rain, starting on Saturday before noon (actually about 9am), and lasting through the day and into Sunday.  With the forecast being very confident that it was going to rain, several vendors packed up and left at the end of Friday night, and never bothered to show up on Saturday morning.  The rain would set in before the Annual Parade would get started on Saturday morning, inspiring many to simply back out.  As soon as the Parade was over, the out of town vendors started to pack up.  They were followed by many of the local vendors, and by one o’clock most of the events scheduled for Saturday were cancelled.  It’s a shame, Saturday is generally the best day for the event.

So now we get to look forward to the 2018 Puddle Jumper Days event.  2018 will be the 40th Anniversary for the event and the committee putting on the event have already started working on bringing back some of activity booths that have been missing for the past few years.  We will have to see how things shake out.