Kansas City Current ‘electrifying’ moment



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Allison Howard Coliseum US 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Allison Howard is a woman of aplomb and poise. And she is grinning from ear to ear. Why not? As the Advisor to the Board for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team Kansas City Current she and her team are soon going to boast the first women soccer-specific stadium in the world. The CPKC Stadium in Kansas City, US, is scheduled for a March 2024 opening. She was not very long back the President of KC Current.

Coliseum Summit US 2024 will be hosted in Kansas City (June 5th+6th), with an ice-breaker event at CPKC Stadium (June 4th).

And the music to the ears for the team is that the Kansas City Current has sold out season tickets for the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) regular season at the club’s under-construction CPKC Stadium.

In the last five years, women’s soccer has witnessed a meteoric rise in popularity, recognition and investment on a global scale. The burst-at-seams crowd at the 2023 Women’s World Cup points to the fact that women’s soccer is on the growth trajectory.

Howard has carved a niche for herself in the sports industry and as the former Vice-President of Partnerships for the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Los Angeles Lakers she crafted their corporate partnership strategy which helped the organization to rake in handsome revenue.

Allison Howard, Advisor to the Board, Kansas City Current, US, in an exclusive chat with ‘Coliseum’ points out that a stadium with women athletes as the anchor tenant should have come up 20 years back in the United States, or for that matter in the world. She also asserted that women deserve a level playing field and an equal footing with men in the sporting sector.
 

Kansas City Current

The Kansas City Current is an American professional women’s soccer team playing in Kansas City, Kansas, US. It was founded as an expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – a professional women’s soccer league at the top of the United States league system – in 2021.
 

CPKC Stadium

The 11,500-capacity CPKC Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium being built in Kansas City, Missouri, US, for the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), who currently plays their home games at the 18,467-capacity Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. The stadium is scheduled to be completed and go on stream by March 2024.

Beaming-with-pride Allison Howard stated, “The Kansas City Current is building the first stadium in the world of its kind purpose-built with female athletes as the anchor tenant. Our club is three years old but I have worked in the sports industry for almost 20 years but this is the first time I am dedicating myself solely to women’s sports.”

She continued, “Before setting out to build a women’s soccer-specific stadium we wondered whether people would care to visit a stadium with female athletes as the anchor tenant or will they be willing to spend on tickets?”
 

Challenges

Talking about the challenges, she informed that it is a “privately-financed stadium and the price tag stand at 150 million dollar – the stadium and the training center included. The training center opened about a year back and a sports park will also skirt the facility. Though the venue is 11,000-plus but we have room to expand the capacity by another 10,000.”

Howard stated that Kansas City is a small town and it has an “astonishing amount of open space. The stadium is coming up on a brownfield site and apart from the financial challenges as it is privately-financed we also had to spend a lot on clearing the site as it was a dumping ground. Of course, we accorded sustainability the topmost priority.”

She said another challenge was to convince the community that women’s sports too can deliver! – “A lot of families come to watch our fixtures and it is a very family-friendly environment.”
 

Taking Pages Out

The top banana stated that they did a tour of the United States taking pages out of the NBA, National Football League (NFL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) facilities and frankly admitted that “stealing the best ideas and adopting the best practices. Kansas City is a sports crazy town and we have to put our best foot forward and also offer a gourmet spread to the fans. Otherwise, they will turn their backs on us”.
 

Fans First

She said that they believe in rolling out the red carpet for the fans and “we put ourselves in the shoes of fans from different age groups and also make them feel loved and cared for”.
 

Workhorses

Howard said that they boast “workhorses who work tirelessly irrespective of weekends and holidays to ensure that the brand grows”.
 

Stadium Specifics

The Pitch Club of the under-construction arena is very “au décor, 1920-style, exclusive-inclusive with food and beverage (F&B) included with your ticket. The Plaza of the facility is going to be a major community moment as well. We will have maybe 80 to 90 different events and you can count on maybe 20 NWSL events a year As far as the Business Unit is concerned, it is an 800 million dollar mixed-use development.”
 

Sum-Up

Allison Howard wrapped up by stating, “I hope that in the next 10 years there will be more women-specific stadia all over the United States and the world. Women’s sports is going through a major watershed moment right now which was long overdue and we have recently opened an Academy building and we are going to train 30 young girls. We really feel that it is our obligation to develop the next group of US women’s national team members.”

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