I just came across a fascinating article over at the LA Times sports blog regarding Lamar Hunt's move from Dallas to Kansas City in the 1960s. The purpose of the piece is to prove a sports legend to be true.
Legend has it that the Chiefs sold 35,000 season tickets before their move to Kansas City. Specifically, those tickets were sold without customers knowing which team (or league for that matter) would be coming to Kansas City.
I'll cut to the relevant part of the LA Times story. Hunt was in the middle of preparing to move the Texans out of Dallas because it was becoming clear he wouldn't be able to compete with the Cowboys. So he began shopping around other cities to move the team.
He wanted to choose Kansas City but needed a guarantee from a group of area businessman -- nicknamed the "Gold Coats" -- that 35,000 season tickets had to be sold before he would commit to moving there. For a reference, that's roughly three times as many season tickets as the Texans sold in Dallas.
The catch? The "Gold Coats" had to keep everything a secret.
So when Bartle got together a group of Kansas City businessmen (he affectionately referred to the 20 or so businessmen as "The Gold Coats") to sell (or get down payments on) the 35,000 season tickets, the men were not able to say what the name of the team was, who the owner was, where they would play, what football league they were going to play in, not even when their first game would be! All they had to go on was "we're getting a pro football team - will you buy season tickets to see them play?." With just that to go on and a four month deadline to sell the 35,000 tickets, the Gold Coats did it in two.
The best part about it all? Hunt admitted years later he only needed 20,000 season tickets sold to get the deal done.