While the Sprint Center has exceeded many people’s expectations since it opened five years ago, one promise has not been fulfilled.
Kansas City leaders have not identified a new purpose for Kemper Arena.
Kemper has lost nearly all its big events, including the circus and monster truck shows, to the shinier, newer facility downtown. It now loses money every year, is kept dark for months at a time, and the city is struggling to find a solution.
“This city is not big enough to support two 20,000-seat arenas,” City Manager Troy Schulte said. “The sooner we deal with that, the better off we’ll be.”
The Kansas City Star goes on to note that Kemper has seen its annual number of events fall from more than 150 to a mere 25 this fiscal year, including “a handful of American Royal events, plus graduations, Jehovah Witness gatherings and the like.” Current plans are to either tear down Kemper and replace it with a smaller facility, or possible renovate the current building to hold fewer seats.
Kemper is currently losing $1 million a year, which eats up most of the $1.8 million a year that the city gets from the Sprint Center. Plus, of course, the city is paying $13.8 million a year in debt payments on building the Sprint Center. And another $2.2 million a year in remaining debt on Kemper. With coups like this, who needs failures?