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Chiefs popularity in St. Louis continues to rise

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Rams bolted for Los Angeles a couple years ago, there’s been a void in the market for NFL football in St. Louis, and the Kansas City Chiefs have made it clear that they are interested in marketing Chiefs football to fans on the other side of the state.

Chiefs president Mark Donovan has been cautious, though, about upsetting ex-Rams fans in St. Louis. He wants to avoid pushing things too hard, which could result in potential resentment fans. Earlier this March, Donovan reiterated that caution, saying the team wanted to “continue that slow, methodical approach” of marketing in St. Louis.

After the second-straight season in which the Chiefs have partnered with local St. Louis CBS affiliate (KMOV) to air all four of the team’s preseason games, Donovan said that the team saw a rise in ratings in KC’s preseason opener Aug. 12 against San Francisco. Donovan recently spoke with St. Louis Post-Dispatch NFL reporter Jim Thomas, and he noted that the Chiefs are paying close attention to how football fans are responding there.

“I think we were up 20-some percent with out preseason game Week 1 over last year in St. Louis,” Donovan said.

“Last year’s first preseason game was on a Saturday afternoon vs. a Friday night (this year),” he said. “So you’re gonna get a bump there to begin with. But, you know, it’s going in the right direction. We’re getting more and more attention, more and more feedback from St. Louis. So we’re excited.”

In addition to the game being on a Friday night, the Chiefs bump in St. Louis also likely came from Patrick Mahomes making his NFL debut. Donovan then went on to say yet again that the Chiefs will continue to use caution in marketing in St. Louis and encouraged fans to “come visit the Arrowhead experience” in Kansas City.

The Chiefs expanded their radio coverage to St. Louis last season, partnering with KMOX (1120 AM). Dan Caeser, also of the Post-Dispatch, reported that KMOX will air “all Chiefs contests that don’t overlap with with a Cardinals or Blues game it carries.” If there is a conflict, the Chiefs contest will flip over to another local station, KFNS (590 AM).

The Chiefs are popular right now, and with the team slated to appear in prime time six times this season, football fans in St. Louis will have their best opportunity to latch on to the team. KC also appears on the 3:25 p.m. slot on CBS four times, which makes it likely those in St. Louis will see those games.