May 24, 2024

Kansas City, Missouri, is paying a more lasting monument to women’s soccer as the Women’s World Cup brings the sport into the spotlight throughout the world. There you’ll find the world’s first stadium designed specifically for a professional female sports league.

The $120 million stadium will be home to the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League beginning in the spring of 2019. When it opens, it will have capacity for 11,500 spectators, but that number can be increased to 22,000.

 

 

A “breakout moment” in women’s athletics, according to Christine Brennan, a columnist for the USA Today and an ABC News contributor. She goes on to say that the fact that it’s in Kansas City makes it even more noteworthy, since such an endeavor would be more likely on the East or West Coast.

Brennan remarked that the fact that this was occurring in Kansas City should serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the country. What are you doing? Just why aren’t you participating as well?

Among the team’s co-owners and financial backers is Brittany Mahomes, a founding partner of the KC Current, whose husband Patrick Mahomes is the MVP quarterback for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The number of famous people supporting and bringing attention to women’s soccer continues to grow.

Hollywood stars Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain are among the investors of Los Angeles’ Angel City Football Club, which was founded by Natalie Portman. Former first daughters Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Bush Hager are investors in the Washington Spirit, while tennis pro Naomi Osaka owns a stake in the North Carolina Courage.

Brennan believes this tendency is good for the sport because it attracts more spectators and sponsors.

Brennan praised this trend, saying, “The idea that you’re going to a game and the owners are not these unknown old guys sitting somewhere in a box, but are people that you’re watching on TV or in a movie, I think that is a wonderful development.” These days, supporting women’s sports is as hip as it gets.

While the Mahomes’ support is crucial, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas claims that when citizens discuss the Current and the stadium, “they aren’t really saying ‘Mahomes.'” They are simply mentioning an excellent soccer squad. The players are slowly becoming familiar to us. We’re getting to know one other as a unit. Women’s soccer is becoming more of a focus for us.

According to the mayor, the commercial and retail development planned around the stadium along the Missouri River will result in nearly $1 billion in economic gain for the area.

“I think what we’re seeing on the riverfront is not just the stadium, but a mecca for women’s sports, certainly for other economic activity in Kansas City,” Lucas told ABC News. As the statement goes, “We believe in women’s soccer as an anchor for something substantial.”

It seems that Lucas’s ideas are shared by other cities. Kansas City Current Vice President for Communications Dani Welniak claims that the project has received attention from all over the world.

Welniak told ABC News, “I can’t tell you how much response we get from not only Kansas City fans, but people across the globe who want to know how we’re doing this, who want to bring a club to another state, or even build upon the women’s teams that they have overseas. Overall, I can say that people are inspired because of the talks I’ve had.

Demand for tickets to the Women’s World Cup matches the increased interest in the stadium’s debut. According to Fox Network, the U.S. vs. Netherlands match last week drew an average of 6.43 million people, making it the most-watched Women’s World Cup group stage match in U.S. television history. According to Fox, there were a peak of 8.45 million viewers.

Despite Brennan’s skepticism that NWSL games will ever attract such a large crowd, she does believe that the tremendous enthusiasm will lead to further investment in women’s sports, as evidenced by the stadium in Kansas City.

“As a business leader, you take one look at the numbers of the Women’s World Cup, and you look at the untapped potential of women’s sports,” Brennan said. If you’re a business owner, you might think, “That’s the market I want to enter. We’ve reached capacity for males.

After three consecutive victories in 1999, 2015, and 2019, optimism about the future of women’s soccer in the United States has reached an all-time high. The citizens of Kansas City are holding out hope that this project will signal long-term prosperity.

“I think we get a new sentiment every four years,” Lucas added. “But the stadium claims that this is the new normal. The support, admiration, and enthusiasm we have for women’s professional sports will never fade.

Last year, the Kansas City Current nearly won the NWSL championship before succumbing to the Portland Thorns. The team is struggling this season and is now in last place. But the stadium plan seems to stand for more than just the team, whatever its record.

Welniak thinks it has profound implications for society as a whole.

“I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter,” she revealed. “It makes me so happy that she is growing up in a world where women have their own training facilities and their own stadiums,” the mother said.

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