Sports

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.

The Kansas City Phantoms (2-8) faced off against the Dallas Marshals (6-4) on Saturday Night at the Silverstein Eye Center in Independence Missouri.  And while the opening drive seemed to result in an easy touchdown for the Dallas Marshals, the Phantoms came back on their first possession and NEVER LOOKED BACK.  The final Score … Kansas City 48, Dallas 42.

And for the second home game in a row, the Phantoms paid tribute to an important cause.  Week 12 was Breast Cancer Awareness, wearing specially designed Jerseys for the game.  Week 13 was First Responders Recognition, with another custom Jersey created for the game.  In both games, a number of Jersey’s were auctioned off, and for the second week in a row, we came home with one of them.

LOOKING FORWARD – Week 13 is already being promoted as Military Appreciation Week.  It will be more than likely that they will once again have a special jersey for the game, and again, there will likely be an auction of the jersey’s afterwards.  But let’s look at the battle in front of us.

North Division First Place Sioux City Bandits (9-2) come to Kansas City to face the now 3-8 Phantoms.  The team has grown a lot in the past several games, and are coming in on a two game winning streak.  The last time the teams faced off, our Quarterback was struggling.  Now we have a more agile rushing Quarterback who has proven his ability to score.  The only concern is his tendency to throw the ball away for an interception when trapped in the backfield.  It isn’t out of the question, so dare we ask … can the Phantoms take down the Bandits?  It should be an interesting final home game for the Phantoms, and with the recent promotion for ticket sales, we are hoping for a strong and loud crowd close to the field.  As for Michelle and I, we are back on the Wall at Mid-field.

The undefeated Sioux City Bandits took the lead in the first half of the game and never looked back, beating the Phantoms 62 to 35.  The Bandits clearly have a good team.  Their status clearly show that they had the upper hand.  And let’s be as fair as we can be.  The Phantoms are a new team, we apparently haven’t figured out our strengths and weaknesses to the point where we are ready to compete with the top teams.  Or so it would appear. (more…)

Arena Football Returns to Kansas City.  Okay, it’s not the Arena Football League we all remember from back when the  Brigade and Command played in Kansas City.  But then, the old Arena Football League (AFL) is nothing like the original league.  But it’s Arena Football and that means fast paced, high scoring, and sometime aggravating.

Welcome the Kansas City Phantoms, the latest addition to the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF).  And welcome to the Silverstein Eye Center (Independence Event Center) Arena, a smaller, and somewhat more comfortable option to Arena football at the Sprint Center in Downtown Kansas City. (more…)