Well, the NBA fared much better than the NHL when they held their exhibition game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Of course it helps to have some local players to draw the fan interest. 17,116 came out to watch the Miami Heat and New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night.
Former KU Jayhawks Julian Wright and Mario Chalmers along with K-State’s Michael Beasley all played. Chalmers and Beasley are teammates on Miami. Chalmers said, “We wanted to give the fans a show.” He finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Beasley had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the game and Wright outscored them both with 12 in the game.
The Sprint Center continues to be a profitable building as it draws pretty decent numbers for other events outside of pro hockey or basketball. In an article in the Kansas City Star, numbers from a Pollstar magazine’s report show the Sprint Center ranked third in the United States this year in ticket sales for live entertainment behind Madison Square Garden in New York and Philips Arena in Atlanta. The Sprint Center was 9th in the world.
It looks for now that is what the Sprint Center is going to make it’s living off of for the next few years. Kansas City has made a push for a couple of different NHL franchises including the Nashville Predators and New York Islanders who played in KC this September.
Given the financial state of the NHL, for instance the near bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL would seem to be the best option in terms of drawing a professional franchise, but I really think over the long haul, an NBA franchise would draw better.
For now, we’ll live with Miley Cyrus, the circus, an occasional NCAA tournament and exhibition games.