Kansas City Chiefs team president Mark Donovan spoke to the media on Thursday regarding the news that the Chiefs are "hosting" a game in London next year against the Detroit Lions.
A few bullet points on the big questions you have:
*Season ticket holders will pay for just nine games, instead of 10.
*This is NOT directly related to hosting a Super Bowl, according to Donovan.
*On the competitive disadvantage of taking away a home game, Donovan says, "there are a couple of guys in that building who have a pretty good record on the road as well as at home. That factors into it."
*The Chiefs know fans aren't happy about losing a home game.
*On whether this was the Chiefs choice: "...as a member of this league you're going to be called on to do things, and we happily accept that."
Here is the full Q&A with Donovan. Questions are paraphrased. Watch video of his remarks here.
What impact will this game have on season ticket holders?
Obviously, they will be paying for one less game. And it's funny, I got a note from somebody asking that question. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to come out and just confirm that's an obvious answer, yes.
What do you say to Chiefs fans who are losing a home game?
I think we'd all love to have every game at Arrowhead. But this goes back to 2006 when we did the lease. It's contemplated in that lease that if you had an international game it could be a home game so this is not a new thought. We've been discussing it with members of the chamber, the city and the state for years that this could happen and when it happens what it means. I had a good conversation with a number of government officials this morning. This all broke last night when we got word that they were going to announce it so we've been scrambling a little bit just to get ready. All the conversations I've had have been really positive. As a fan, you don't want to give up a game. Period. We get that and we understand it. If you look at the history of this franchise and specifically Lamar [Hunt] and what he did and the way he approached the NFL and the importance of the greater good, this is another example of this family following that tact and that approach. The international series is a priority for the league. It's something that more and more teams because we've increased the number of games, more and more teams are playing, therefore more and more teams have to give up home games. We're not the first team to give up a home game. Obviously some teams that have advantages to give up a home game have done that. Some teams like San Francisco, New Orleans and Atlanta have given up home games as well. We think it's a great opportunity. We think the people we've talked to in the region see this as a great opportunity for Kansas City. It puts us on a global stage. Our players, our fans and the whole region should benefit from it.
Will this help Kansas City get a Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl decision is more of a cold weather issue than anything else and the league is still going through that process after New York. So this isn't directly related.
Do teams who give up a home game for London get a chance to bid for a Super Bowl?
When you look forward to bidding on Super Bowls, the league is in discussions about making that one of the bid requirements but this isn't related to that.
So there's no retroactive credit, where you can bid for a Super Bowl next year because you did this?
If Kansas city gets a Super Bowl, it will be more about that building (Arrowhead) and this environment rather than the Chiefs playing in London.
Did the Chiefs seek this or was it just their turn in the rotation?
I'll go back to the point of when you look at the priorities of the league and what's important. More and more teams are going to have to give up games to make the international model work. And we strongly believe that. Obviously Clark is chairman of the International Committee. He's been part of the team working on this for years. This all started in the 90s and we've played games in London since 07. So this is part of the process. Yeah it's part of our turn in the rotation but again we look at it as a great opportunity. We get to put our brand on the global scale, and that's a big advantage for us.
Is every team going to host a game in London at some point?
It depends. You can't make that prediction today because who knows how this goes and where it goes. If you look at the trend, we went from one game to three games, we went from I think 17 teams that have now played over there and nine of them have given up home games.
Did Clark Hunt being chairman of the International Committee factor in?
We pride ourselves in leading by example. when you look at the history of the league, I always go back to the Rooneys, Maras, McCaskeys and the Hunts sitting in that room with Pete Rozelle saying in order for us to all benefit, we have to pool the TV revenues. That launched this league. That's one of the things that makes us as successful as we are today. This is another example of that. It's not the same scale I don't believe but it's another example of, as a member of this league you're going to be called on to do things, and we happily accept that.
How do the fans benefit from this?
I completely understand that and appreciate that. We knew there would be and there should be fans upset about giving up a home game. A couple things that went into consideration in our discussions with the league over the years. One of them was the thought of giving up a conference game or a division game, we were pretty adamant that that wasn't going to happen. When you look at our schedule next year, there were a couple games where we said no we're not giving that game up. That's part of the process. I think it's a tougher discussion to have with our fans to talk about today and next season and what it means today. This is a long term prospect and this is a long term benefit for the league. Selfishly, this is a long term benefit for the Kansas City Chiefs. Our brand, our region, the opportunity to be on this stage is valuable.
Why didn't they do this during the Arrowhead Stadium renovations?
If you look at that, that was when the international series was just really growing. I'm sure there were discussions - I wasn't here - but I'm sure there were discussions about whether or not that made sense then.
How much of a factor was the competitive disadvantage?
I wish we could play every game at Arrowhead. Not only the competitive advantage but also just the atmosphere. But there are a couple of guys in that building who have a pretty good record on the road as well as at home. That factors into it.
Is there an agreement in the league that every team will give up a home game?
There's nothing that I'm aware of. Because you don't know if you'er going to have three gams every year, one game, six games, you could be in Mexico City, you could be in Germany, who knows. But right now if you look at the trend over the last few years, we've gone from one game to three games, that's another reality of this guys. The NFL has three games at Wembley Stadium. They average 82,000 tickets in those games and they sell them out in hours. So there's a huge demand over there and the league is trying to do its best to capitalize on that.
Will the Chiefs be compensated by the league for going?
Without getting into all the details, the league obviously makes sure both teams are compensated for going in terms of not losing out ... neither the Lions, Dolphins, the Jets or the Bills are going to take a loss on this. And that's just smart business for everybody.
So the Chiefs won't lose money?
I'll be careful in how I say this or I'll get in trouble with the league. When you undertake a prospect like this, this is going to cost the Chiefs money. It is. It's just too big of an opportunity not to take advantage of it. We hope that it's an investment we can return but this is going to be significantly expensive. It's going to cost the Chiefs money to go.
What is significant?
I'm not going to quite you a number. I'll give you an analogy. I had the good fortunate of going to the Super bowl in 05 with the Eagles. We lost money. It's expensive to do that, to take that many people and do all that. We're going to have a lot more press conferences about the International Series and this game. But we have to go through the whole process of when to go. Certain teams are going on Sunday before, certain teams are going on Thursday, certain teams are taking big groups, some teams are treating it as a road game. So we have to go through all that process, and there's a lot more to come on this.
Other teams who have hosted London games can't sell tickets or are having stadium problems.
I would debate you a little bit on Atlanta, San Francisco, and New Orleans. (Reporter: New Orleans was after Katrina) There are teams doing OK selling tickets. I think the bigger picture is that as the number of games increases, the number of teams are going to increase so more and more teams are going to go so when that happens more teams are going to give up home games.