Kansas City has not been the host of a professional basketball team since 2004-05, when the Kansas City Knights of the American Basketball Association were around. The ABA has since shut down, but it has been an even longer drought since an NBA team was in KC, which was in 1984-85 with the Kansas City Kings before they relocated to Sacramento after the ’84-’85 season. Back in 2018, Jarrett Sutton of the SEC Network was told by an NBA executive “Kansas City will get a team at some point.“
“Kansas City will get an NBA team at some point,” the executive told Sutton. “It’s a real thing I’ve heard from multiple sources. Just a matter of time. Seattle and KC to me are most valuable markets for league expansion when it makes sense.”
According to ThoughtCo, the Kansas City metropolitan area is the 26th largest in the US. The KC area already houses the T-Mobile Center, formerly known as the Spring Center, which can seat more than 19,000 people. With a stadium that seats nearly as many people as most of the NBA arenas, T-Mobile Center could hold up.
The T-Mobile Center also hosts the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament every year and is home to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Not to mention the fact that the downtown area also features plenty of eating and shopping locations with Westport and the plaza nearby. Kansas City seems more and more appealing as the area continues to be updated.
KC Mayor Quinton Lucas has Kansas City back in the discussion as an expansion location when he lobbied for the Toronto Raptors to play this year’s NBA regular season in KC, but it did not pan out past a tweet apparently. However, you can bet many executive people have had conversations with the NBA. Kathy Nelson, the CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission, is another executive in KC that is all for a team in KC.
“Our venue was built to house both an NBA and NHL team and still be one of the finest venues in the U.S.,” Nelson said, noting the building is walking distance from the “Power and Light District,” a residential, entertainment, and shopping area. Nelson called the Power and Light District area, “the perfect setup.”Young, Jabari-14 January 2021-https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/14/kansas-city-needs-a-billionaire-to-get-an-nba-team-or-itll-go-to-las-vegas.html
The biggest issue with bringing an NBA team to KC would be finding an owner to dish out the money. It would be a couple of billion dollars to make this happen more than likely.
“I just don’t know who would be the owner, at least locally,” Nelson said. “Financially, what does that ownership team look like? That’s the billionaire-dollar question. It’s not a million-dollar. It’s a billion dollars.”Young, Jabari-14 January 2021-https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/14/kansas-city-needs-a-billionaire-to-get-an-nba-team-or-itll-go-to-las-vegas.html
Whether a deal happens or not it will take a lot of money and with MLB, NFL, minor league hockey, MLS, National Women’s Soccer League, and American Association teams already in KC, money would be tight. It also does not help Kansas City’s case that college football and basketball are rather popular in town as well, so again, money is the issue. If Kansas City can gain the support of one big-time billionaire, the odds will slowly get better for KC to host an NBA team.
“If Kansas has that in their corner, and Las Vegas did not have a solid ownership group, then that could tilt the scales” said Patrick Rishe, sports business director at Washington University in St. Louis.Young, Jabari-14 January 2021-https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/14/kansas-city-needs-a-billionaire-to-get-an-nba-team-or-itll-go-to-las-vegas.html
The biggest competition besides Seattle for KC to get an NBA team would be Las Vegas. Las Vegas makes sense because it is a tourist attraction city and they already pulled the Raiders there so why not an NBA team right? When you look at the money numbers though, Kansas City makes more sense.
According to deptofnumbers.com, the median household income in the KC metro area was $70,215 in 2019 while Las Vegas was $62,107. If Kansas City can find the right billionaire owner to take the funds and stretch them in the necessary areas, I see no reason for it not to happen.
Unfortunately, talks in the NBA about expanding have been in the works for a while now and have seemed to stall now that the NBA is back in full swing and not being as heavily affected by COVID 19. For KC’s sake, an NBA team would be great in my opinion.
Instead of having to drive five hours to Oklahoma City to watch the Thunder or seven and a half hours to Chicago to watch the Bulls, Kansas City could once again have more than college basketball to invest their basketball fandom in. Make it happen KC billionaires!
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