Kansas City and St. Louis seem to be the mirror image of each other. The St. Louis Cardinals are red, so the Kansas City Royals are blue. The Kansas City Chiefs were red, so the St. Louis Rams were blue. I assume that if Kansas City ever gets a hockey team, it would be stipulated in the agreement that they would have to be red.
That notion recently came to mind again when the Cardinals clinched their division and secured a playoff berth by beating the Chicago Cubs (who also happen to be blue. Anyone else noticing a pattern here?) That win started one of my favorite times of the year, a time Cardinal Nation affectionately refers to as “Red October.” But this year, all of Missouri is enjoying the benefits of Red October.
If there is one fan base that is just as dedicated to their team as Cardinal fans, it is Chiefs fans. I’ve lost count of how many people I know who have clung to their season tickets to Arrowhead Stadium year after year, knowing that “next year is going to be the year.” Okay, five games do not make a football season. Still, with a 5-0 start for the first time in a decade, Chiefs fans have plenty to celebrate. And with one of the toughest defenses in the league, a new quarterback and a coach with a winning background, there could be more to come.
Ever since I started working for the Division of Tourism, I began looking at success for sports teams in a whole different way. How so? Well, consider this. According to the St. Louis CVC, every Cardinals postseason home game translates into a $5 million economic impact for St. Louis. I certainly didn’t realize that Chiefs’ games generate more than $400 million annually and provide nearly 5,000 jobs for the Kansas City area. There is even some evidence that wins for the Chiefs mean people work harder and make more money.
That’s all well and good. But there is another aspect of this success that isn’t nearly as quantifiable – the buzz. Cardinals fans can think back to the 2011 postseason to remember how great it feels to see their team raise the trophy high and cheer with pride. It has been a little longer for the Chiefs. Then again, that fan base gets plenty pumped for each and every game. The wins are simply the rewards for keeping the faith.
You don’t have to look far to see Missouri’s excitement for Red October. You can practically feel the electricity at tailgating parties outside Arrowhead Stadium. In St. Louis, it is shoulder-to-shoulder at Three Sixty Rooftop Bar on top of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. For that matter, it is that way at plenty of sports bars and restaurants surrounding Busch Stadium for several blocks, none of which sport the fantastic view Three-Sixty boasts. You might ask why someone would go to a bar when you can watch the same thing from the comfort of your home? Because there is nothing in the world like being there, even if “there” happens to be on the wrong side of the gate. And when the new Ballpark Village is finished next year, the chances to feel the excitement are only going to increase.
Missouri sports fans are some of the best in the country. Wins and losses certainly aren’t going to change that fact. But with both teams enjoying the national attention that comes with success, the best benefit is that the rest of the country gets to Enjoy the Show in Missouri, too.
Written by Ben Yarnell, new media specialist for the Missouri Division of Tourism.