Sporting Kansas City

Laura Gilchrist / Flickr -- CC

Professional soccer club Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the name of its home field in Kansas City, Kansas, will be changed on January 1, 2016, from Sporting Park to Children’s Mercy Park.

The Kansas City-based pediatric hospital will have exclusive naming rights for the next 10 years. The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Children’s Mercy will also expand its partnership with Sporting Kansas City in other ways.

Brent Flanders / Flickr--CC

Of all Sporting Kansas City’s season ticket holders, there are eight times more Johnson County residents than Wyandotte County residents — even though Sporting Park sits in Wyandotte County's largest city, Kansas City, Kansas.

In the breakdown of Sporting KC’s season ticket holders, fans with Wyandotte County addresses account for only 4.5 percent, which ranks fourth among the counties in Kansas City’s metropolitan area.

Katie Brady / Flickr--CC

Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, is in its fifth season as the home of Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer. For the money spent on what is regarded as one of the best soccer venues in the country, very little so far has been invested in Wyandotte County for youth soccer.

But changes are taking place.

Frank Morris / KCUR

As Kansas state government braces for another round of budget cuts or tax increases (or both) to balance the state’s declining revenue, Wyandotte County is looking forward to a big jump in tax collections. That’s just part of the county’s profound, if spotty, change of fortunes.

Death spiral

Twenty years ago, Carol Marinovich became mayor of a city in steep decline. The Kansas City, Kansas she grew up in was collapsing. The house she grew up in, along with half her Strawberry Hill neighborhood, had long since been bulldozed to make way for I-70. But that was far from the worst of it. Wyandotte County seemed locked in a death spiral. 

With the advertising and design community immersed in Kansas City Design Week, we examine how local companies get people to identify with their products and their stories. Let's pull back the curtain on some popular KC brands: Shatto Milk, Sporting KC and SPIN! Pizza.


Greg Echlin / KCUR

After an early exit from the MLS playoffs last year, Sporting Kansas City is making changes for this season.

They announced their biggest off-season move Tuesday, signing Roger Espinoza.

Espinoza played for Sporting for five years before going overseas to play in the English Premier League. 

"This is the age where the majority of players hit their peak,” said the 28-year-old at a news conference at Sporting's office in Kansas City, Mo.

Sporting’s season opener is on March 8 against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

Ryan Knapp / Flickr--CC

Sporting Kansas City will leave Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference and join the Western Conference in 2015, the MLS announced Monday.

The move will be a homecoming of sorts for Sporting KC, which played in the Western Conference from 1996 to 2005. 

Sasha Victorine

  “Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Sasha Victorine was playing Major League Soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy when he got traded to what was the Kansas City Wizards nine years ago. Victorine is originally from the Southern California area. He says moving far away from his family was at first tough for him and his wife, but they grew to love Kansas City.

Rybass / Wikimedia Commons

Last week in a coffee shop, I saw two young men, each with single name emblazoned on his chest. The first one read, “Jesus.” The other? “LeBron.” Because, hey—every savior deserves his own T-shirt.

The biggest sports news of the summer is the second coming of NBA superstar LeBron James—specifically from the Miami Heat back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and his native northeast Ohio. The national media has been giddy over his maturity and grace in trading the Sun Belt for the Rust Belt and a mere $42 million over the next two years.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.

Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.

Collaborative efforts between the Sporting Kansas City soccer club, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and the state of Kansas for a national soccer training center appear to be complete.

A “major announcement” is set for Wednesday night at Sporting Park with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback expected to be in attendance, state officials said in a release Tuesday.

It will precede Sporting KC’s exhibition match against England’s Manchester City club.

Long term commitment or not? That’s the question with a few of the biggest sports stars in Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex reports to training camp this week without a contract beyond this season. On the other hand, Sporting Kansas City locked up their two biggest stars for the long haul.

Before Sporting Kansas City took the field in their Saturday match at Livestrong Park against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the announcement came out that Matt Besler and Graham Zusi agreed to four-year extensions with the team.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC player, Chance Myers, for insight on team USA's strategy to move on to the next round and one step closer to the championship.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Swarms of soccer fans packed the Power and Light District Monday to watch the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in the U.S. team's first World Cup match.

The KC Live Stage was filled to the brim of fans wearing red white and blue, chanting U.S.A., and S.K.C. to cheer for the two Sporting KC players on the team, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

Kansas City native, Matt Besler played in the first half but had to leave the game due to a hamstring injury. Graham Zusi was brought in at the 77th minute, and assisted in scoring the second goal that brought the team to victory.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

There will be crowds, cheering and that well-known cry of , "Futbol!" as the FIFA World Cup begins this week.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC's Chance Myers about what to expect from the competition and what U.S. team members-- and Sporting KC players-- Graham Zusi and Matt Besler might face.


  • Chance Myers, Sporting KC

The USA team that will participate in the World Cup soccer tournament departed for Brazil Sunday night.

Kansas City soccer fans will have a watchful eye on this team with two players from Sporting Kansas City on the roster. Seventeen-year-old Ady Barraza, a soccer player at Olathe Northwest High School, was at the Overland Park Soccer complex over the weekend along with other teens trying out for club teams. While trying to map out their own futures, they’re in tune to what will be happening at the World Cup in Brazil.

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City will begin defense of their championship in Major League Soccer Saturday with a road game at Seattle to open the season.

There will be one noticeable difference in the look of this year’s team. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, nicknamed "The White Puma" and known for wearing pink, decided to go out on top.

Nielsen announced his retirement shortly after Sporting's 2013 MLS Cup win. He is now coaching in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

Succeeding Nielsen will be Eric Kronberg.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Sporting KC kicked off its 2014 season with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on March 8.

On today's Central Standard we discuss the entertainment aspect of a franchise that has become a business model for soccer clubs across the country.


  • Jake Reid, chief revenue officer for Sporting KC
  • Thad Bell, managing editor for The Daily Wiz
  • Sean Dane, leader of the KC Cauldron

Two days after helping his team win the MLS Cup, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper and team captain, Jimmy Nielsen, announced he'll retire from soccer.  

After the MLS Cup was one Saturday night, goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen said the last thing anyone would want is to have come out of a final like the MLS Cup thinking they could've tried harder.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

A celebration of Sporting Kansas City’s Major League Soccer championship victory is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Union Station area of Kansas City, Mo.

Sporting won the MLS Cup Saturday night after ten rounds of penalty kicks. The final score was 7-6, against Real Salt Lake.

The win is the first championship since 2000. Back then, two current starters followed the team to Washington D.C., for the match as native Kansas City fans when the team was known as the Kansas City Wizards.

Brian Davidson

Major League Soccer’s championship, the MLS Cup, will be played Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The match, set for the latest date in the 18-year history of the league, is also expected to be the coldest championship in league history. But, are temperatures in the 20s under these wintry conditions seem appropriate for an outdoor soccer game?

"That’s not what I think of as soccer conditions," says Sporting Kansas City season ticket holder Jessie Williams. 

Brian Davidson

Sporting Kansas City’s personal connection to fans help distinguish the soccer team’s fan experience from other professional teams in Kansas City, our listeners and online audiences tell us.

With Saturday’s Major League Soccer championship matchup between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Cup, we wanted to know: How is rooting for Sporting Kansas City different than rooting for other pro teams in KC?

ryanknapp / Flickr--Creative Commons

You've probably heard by now that our very own Major League Soccer team, Sporting Kansas City, has made it to the MLS championship game, called the MLS Cup. The game will be played against Real  Salt Lake (pronounced ree-AL) at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday afternoon.

Sporting KC last played in a MLS final in 2004, losing to D.C. United. Kansas City, then known as the Wizards, won the MLS Cup in 2000.

Brent Flanders / Flickr-CC

There's a flurry of professional sports activity in Kansas City this weekend, but it's not for a football game. Soccer is taking center stage. 

On Saturday, Sporting Kansas City will host Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park for the MLS Cup championship. It’s the first time a championship game has been played in Kansas City, and if Sporting wins, it will be their first title since 2000, when they were still known as the Wizards.

Major league soccer is hot right now in Kansas City as we prepare to host this weekend’s MLS championship between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City.

And we want to know what all the buzz is about.

Tell KCUR: How is rooting for Sporting Kansas City different than rooting for other pro teams in KC?

Tweet us @KCUR, using the #TellKCUR hashtag.

Nate Bolt / CC

We’ve heard the statistics: Over the next two days, some 44 million of us will pack ourselves into trains, planes, and automobiles for Thanksgiving—and perhaps a few more for Hanukkah. Nearly all of us will be headed home. Why? Because even in this age when “contact” is for lists, “touch” is for screens, and “FaceTime” is an app, it’s being at home, together with family, that still brings out the best, or at least, the most emotional, in all of us. Home is where the heart is.

Sports fans know the importance of home, too.

Ryan Knapp / Flickr-CC

The roar of the crowd confirmed what Sporting KC did this weekend at Sporting Park: They secured a spot at the MLS Cup being held in Kansas City Dec. 7.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, KCUR's Greg Echlin joins us to give a preview for that game.


  • Greg Echlin, KCUR sports reporter
Laura Ziegler / KCUR

AS Roma defeated the MLS All-Star team Wednesday night 3-1 in the MLS All-Star game at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The MLS team included three players from Sporting Kansas City, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. Their opponent from Italy included United States National Team center midfielder Michael Bradley who received high praise during from stadium fans on his announcement onto the field.

Brian Davidson

Major League Soccer’s all-star game will offer the best of its league against Italy’s AS Roma at Sporting Park Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan. Though it’s tough to get a ticket for the match, it follows the pattern lately for Sporting Kansas City’s home games with a string of 27 straight sellouts.

Kansas City: soccer hotbed

It was raining Monday afternoon, but fans showed up with umbrellas to watch professional soccer players aim for a soccer goal across Brush Creek in the plaza.

Proforged / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Wednesday is the 18th Major League Soccer All-Star Game and it will pit the best that MLS has against Italy’s AS Roma team.  All of this will happen right here in Kansas City.