Opinion: Kansas City’s Sports Renaissance

Gunnar Boughan, Staff Writer

As the cool breeze flowed and the red and gold confetti filled the overcast skies, the feeling in the air was excitement. While standing at the barricade to watch the Chiefs Super Bowl parade, I could tell that Kansas City has entered the national sports stage. 


  Football is currently the premier sport, and while Chiefs’ fans suffered tremendously during the early 2010s, the arrival of Big Red changed the trajectory of the organization. 


  The hiring of Head Coach Andy Reid in Jan. 2013 was the start of a new era for the city., The Chiefs were consistent winners in the regular season for the first half of Reid’s coaching, led by veteran quarterback Alex Smith. 


   In the 2017 NFL draft, the Chiefs traded up to the 10th overall pick and selected Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This move not only changed the franchise but set a new standard in the NFL. 


  The arrival of the QB-HC duo propelled the Chiefs’ ascent onto the national stage by winning the AFC West seven straight years, reaching the Super Bowl three out of four years, and winning it twice in four years. 


  Football may be the sport Kansas City is known for, but women’s soccer is the fastest-growing. 

  The relationship between Kansas City and the National Women’s Soccer League is complicated. In 2012, the league awarded them one of 10 founding teams, known as FC Kansas City.


  The newly-minted squad was a force in the early years of the NWSL, becoming repeat champions in 2014 and 2015. In 2017, after mismanagement by owner Elam Baer, the league re-acquired FC Kansas City. All players and contracts were transferred to the Utah Royals FC. 


  In 2020 an expansion team was approved. Angie and Chris Long, alongside Britney Mahomes, became owners of the Kansas City Current. 


  The Current found tremendous success in its short time near the Riverfront. Making it to the finals, signing big-name players, and most notably a new state-of-the-art stadium. The new arena will be the first of its kind, specifically designed for the NWSL


   With World Cup watch parties, being selected as a hosting city for the 2026 World Cup, and the continuous development of the Current and Sporting KC, Kansas City has firmly established itself as a soccer city.


 With football and soccer gaining a massive following in the City of Fountains, baseball continues to improve in the area.


  After successful back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015, the Royals are now rebuilding to chase the crown. Last season the Royals saw a resurgence with young talented players such as shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino, and catcher MJ Melendez.  With the remodeling comes the addition of a new ballpark.  


  The Royals organization released plans to build a new stadium and ballpark district in the downtown KC area.


  Professional sports get most of the spotlight, but collegiate sports in Kansas City have found new life. In 2019, the Kansas City Roos accepted an invitation to rejoin the Summit League, and this move gave them a new identity. 


  The Roos women’s basketball team made an immaculate run in the 2023 Summit League Championship tournament, upsetting the second-seed North Dakota State University and advancing all the way to the semi-finals, despite ending the season 9-23.


  While they were eliminated early in the tournament, men’s basketball Head Coach Marvin Menzies said during a postgame interview that he is ready to bring in playmakers to compete in the Summit League.


  “We gotta add shooters. We gotta add experience. We gotta add a level of physicality inside the paint,” Menzies said.


  The sports scene in Kansas City has changed a lot over the years, and now it has become known for revolutionary teams and for leading the country in sports infrastructure for all.   

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