The news is in: The American Royal barbecue is heading to Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs president Mark Donovan made the announcement on Tuesday morning and joined Soren Petro on 810 WHB following the announcement to explain in detail what was going on.
The first thing we care about here is the Chiefs schedule. The American Royal is set this year for October 1-4 when the Chiefs are in Cincinnati and the Royals (that's baseball, not barbecue) are finishing up their regular season schedule out of town. So that works out.
Moving forward, Donovan said the Royal dates could change based on the Chiefs schedule, which is released in April.
"It is going to be one of the annual challenges for us is finding the exact date. The Royal has found ways they can communicate to the competitors later what date it will be."
The Chiefs DID request to the league to be out of town on October 4 this year and they are so they got their wish. But it won't always be like that with the NFL schedule.
"As much as I would love to say that the league is able to accommodate our requests," Donovan said, "we've had years where we've made schedule requests and they've all been accommodate and we've had years where we've made schedule requests and none have been accommodated."
Personally, I like the idea of bringing the Royal to Arrowhead. Tailgating, barbecue and Chiefs fans? It seems to fit. However, I can absolutely understand some Chiefs fans who groan when they hear the Chiefs are making schedule requests for the Royal. We are only a few weeks away from hearing that, after the Chiefs gave up a home game for London, the team will play just three homes games in the first 11 weeks on their 2015 schedule. And now we realize that the Chiefs requested an away game just six days after visiting Lambeau Field for Monday Night Football. It's just bad timing to be talking about the Chiefs schedule right now.
A few other things discussed on the interview with Petro:
Bigger and better. Donovan said that they wanted to make the American Royal bigger and better by hosting it at Arrowhead. "At our very first meeting, John and his team made it very clear that this thing was going to grow bigger and better but it was always going to be the Royal. That is part of their mission statement. That came clear to us the very first meeting."
More teams in the competition. Donovan said that the Royal had to turn away 40 teams last year (165 teams were in it) and that Arrowhead can accommodate 2-4 times as many teams. Donovan said they hope to accommodate every team who wants to enter and that the Royal can grow "exponentially".
Parking? Chiefs are confident that parking will be better at Arrowhead than the Royal. For those who had never been to the Royal, the pro move was to catch a cab down there because the parking was so horrible. Donovan said that because the crowds aren't all coming at the same time and leaving at the same time like a Chiefs game it should be better at Arrowhead. Obviously the Chiefs have had their own parking issues -- including last week at the draft party with far fewer people, according to multiple people in attendance -- so this is something to keep an eye on.
How long? This is a "multi-year agreement" but Donovan wouldn't say how many years. There are "protections" for each side in it, which basically means there are "outs" in the contract.
This quote defies everything I know about human nature: "For every one [parking] complaint [about Arrowhead], I actually get 10 calls from people saying thank you."