Name: Kauffman Stadium
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Opened: 10 April 1973
Architect: Kivett and Myers
Cost: $70 Million
(2009 renovation: $250 Million)
Capacity: 40,625 (original)
37,903 (2009- )
Surface: AstroTurf (1973-1994)
Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass (1995-present)
Kauffman Stadium is just a special place. It's unique in baseball, in that it's the sixth-oldest park in the big leagues, but doesn't have that 'old-park' vibe. (Perhaps due to the $250 million renovation in 2009.)
With wide concourses, great fan amenities, and the same intimate feel, Kauffman Stadium combines the feeling of a new, modern ballpark with the old beloved park Royals fans loved (and continue to love). The most famous element is the elegant fountain in center field, but the entire park has a cool mid-century-modern feel, and it's just a great place to see a game.
Combine that ambience with, I'll just say it, the best fans in baseball (with apologies to their cross-state rival Cardinals, whose fans claim to be), and Kauffman Stadium is, pound-for-pound, the best place to see a game in the majors. (Okay, that is an arguable point -- I'd love to hear your opinion over a couple of beers at the ballpark of your choice.)
But in our business, we judge fan enthusiasm by sales, and Kansas City fans (both Royals fans and Chifes fans) are fantastic customers. Sales for Kauffman and Arrowhead punch FAR above their weight class, especially when compared to market size. These two prints consistently out-sell almost every larger market, year-round and twice a the holidays. And, for what it's work, fans from KC are just so dang nice!
I've been to Kansas City a few times now, and love it every time. (We don't like to talk about celebrity clients, but a certain MLB Hall-of-Famer who once had a silly incident involving the amount of pine tar on his bat, and a future NFL Hall-of-Famer who might just be the best quarterback to have joined the NFL in the last 25 years each have some of our gear.)
It's not every day you find yourself in America's Heartland. But if you find yourself with 100 miles of Kansas City during the baseball season, do yourself a favor and catch a game at The K. You won't regret it.
PS - I know these all seem like creampuff reviews, each more complimentary than the last, but a) I'm a baseball fan, and anyplace you can watch a ballgame is a good thing, and b) this has been a stretch of really nice ballparks. And, to be honest, with all of the new parks in the last 30 years, there are not a lot of bad places to see a game left. I promise they won't all be complimentary, but I do warn you that the next couple on the list are also must-see parks on our list!