As Kemper Arena falls short of revenues, new ideas for it arise - KCTV5

As Kemper Arena falls short of revenues, new ideas for it arise

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Kemper Arena has seen better days as now most people head to the neighboring Sprint Center.

Many are left wondering what's to become of the long-standing arena and there are some ideas in the making.

The days of the sold-out rock concerts and Globe Trotter games at Kemper Arena are few thanks to the newer and more modern Sprint Center. And that's not by accident, said Oscar McGaskey, executive director of Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Centers.

"Our primary focus is of course the Sprint Center. That's where all the major shows go - sports shows, music events and we use Kemper as a backup," McGaskey said.

So it's no surprise that Kemper has fallen short of revenue as well. Kemper runs with about a million dollar deficit each year with fewer events held there. But McGaskey said they've managed to keep Kemper afloat using an abundance of revenue from Sprint sales.

"Since Sprint is so successful we have a revenue-sharing opportunity with the city and AEG. We put that in the contract and, whenever revenues reach a certain amount of money, the city splits revenues with AEG," he said. "We've been getting a check for the last three or four years - $1.6, 1.7 million and we use that money to help subsidize the deficit over at Kemper."

That's with the exception of one of Kansas City's most popular events, The American Royal, next door to Kemper.

Which is why President and CEO of the American Royal Bob Peterson has plans for Kemper. They are in discussions with the city and the mayor of possibly replacing Kemper arena.

"It had a great run. It was here for 40 years, a lot of wonderful memorable events held there, but it's an old building," Peterson said. "What we are proposing to the city is replacing it with a smaller facility, one more geared toward agrarian events, something that would be a year-around event and would help us draw events down at the West Bottoms."

But those talks are premature and, in the meantime, Kemper remains a memory more than an arena.

The American Royal said they are working with the city to iron out details of possibly replacing Kemper. Those in charge said there will be plenty of public meetings for comment.

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