Sprint Center Celebrates 10 Years in Kansas City

A look back at the makings of Kansas City's crown jewel.

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Euphoria accompanies moments big and small. Most of us probably experienced it for the first time when we tried chocolate, or when we kissed our high school crush, or maybe when we became parents.

   There’s another kind of euphoria – one that’s more universal and accessible. It’s the kind that swells up when our team scores the game-winning point. We feel it when we see a legendary artist performing live for the first time – a name we’ve grown up with, whose songs we know by heart. It’s a joy that is simultaneously shared by thousands of others, people we might not have anything in common with except the profound experience of being wholly entertained.

   Sprint Center delivers that feeling, over and over, hundreds of times a year to countless guests and fans. And after the entertainment is over – after we’ve worn our voices raw cheering and singing and screaming – that feeling stays with us.

 

Sprint Center opening ribbon cutting

 

   HISTORY

   It’s hard to imagine the downtown Kansas City skyline without the iconic Sprint Center in all its luminosity. The immense circular arena – on 8.5 acres – is one of the city’s most spectacular centerpieces and one of the greatest reasons for the booming downtown economy. How many sold-out concerts have been hosted there? How many thousands of fans have filled the seats for sporting games and events? How many of us have been a part of the jubilant crowd that has poured out into the streets following a performance that shook us to our core?

   This year, Sprint Center celebrates its 10-year anniversary. Time is a funny thing: The arena feels like a natural element in Kansas City’s energy, but the structure is only in its adolescence.

 

Sprint Center fireworks opening

 

   For Brenda Tinnen, opening day feels like yesterday.

   Tinnen is the senior vice president and general manager for Sprint Center and a Gladstone native. In 1988, she left Kansas City for a job as the director of ticket sales for Target Center in Minneapolis; her career took her to Houston, Phoenix and, finally, Los Angeles, where she helped open Staples Center.

   “When I left Kansas City in 1988, it was always in the back of my mind that I did want to come back home,” Tinnen says. “I’m a midwestern girl, and I love it here. It’s just a great place to be.”

   With every city Tinnen moved to, whether she was working with a team or opening a new venue, she soaked in every kernel of information she could. “What could we have done better? Where could we be more efficient? What didn’t work?” – all questions, Tinnen says, that played through her head as she fell asleep at night. This drive toward excellence – and a desire to be back on her home turf – is what eventually drew Tinnen into conversations about Sprint Center in the early aughts.

   Or perhaps it was those qualities that led Kay Barnes, Kansas City’s mayor from 1999 to 2007, to seek Tinnen out as Sprint Center was in its planning phase. In fact, Barnes is credited as one of the primary forces behind the revitalization of downtown Kansas City and the push for a new arena.

   “The discussion about whether or not to have an arena began in the mid-1990s,” Barnes says. Kemper Arena had become dated, and increasing numbers of concert performers were declining to bring their tours through Kansas City. The Sports Commission authorized a study to determine the feasibility of a new arena – particularly whether or not such a venture could be successful without a professional indoor sporting franchise, such as the NHL or NBA, attached to it. The study showed a new arena would indeed be viable without a franchise – and that was jumping-off point for Barnes and her team to forge ahead.

 

Sprint Center aerial shot

 

   “When I came into office in 1999, it was clear that there were some very significant challenges in the downtown area,” Barnes says. “Where Sprint Center is now, there were primarily surface parking lots. There was a lot of decay.”

   If the arena was going to happen, it would take a massive infrastructure push to replacing power lines and rebuilding underground sewage routes. The redevelopment effort encompassed approximately 12 to 14 blocks downtown – all of which would need to be worked on simultaneously.

   Barnes chuckles when she recalls the undertaking. “I believe that a bold vision can be easier to sell than a medium-sized one,” she says, “because a bold vision captures the imagination and passion of many people – to the point where they’re willing to come together to make everything happen.”

   In Kansas City, that included the support of the City Council, the Civic Council, the Sports Commission, the Downtown Council, the city manager, the private sector and more. And there was one key player that ultimately made Sprint Center a reality: AEG, an entertainment presenter that invested $53.2 million in return for a 35-year contract to operate the arena. Without a private sector partner, Barnes says, the arena wouldn’t have moved forward. And that just wasn’t an option.

   “Building Sprint Center wasn’t just about revitalizing downtown Kansas City,” Tinnen says. “It was also about bringing some of that ‘wow!’ factor back to Kansas City.”


THROUGHOUT THE YEARS

 

Sprint Center Performers over 10 years

 

Sprint Center is Kansas City’s home for live entertainment and sporting events. Anchor to more than $6 billion of reinvestment in a revitalized downtown Kansas City, the award winning venue has welcomed more than 10 million guests attending over 950 events. Having exceeded attendance and financial projections in each year since opening in 2007, Sprint Center is a unique public/private partnership between AEG and the city of Kansas City, Mo.

   2007 | Oct. 13-Elton John performs his inaugural concert that sold out in less than 90 minutes.

   2008 | Oct. 1- Tina Turner launches North American Tour and first concert in 8 years.

   2012 | Oct 30- Madonna plays first ever show in Kansas City, which was sold out.

   2014 | July 16- Paul McCartney gets arena record grossing over $2.4 million.

   2016 | Jan. 28- AC/DC perform final show with Brian Johnson in Sprint Center.

   2017 | Nov. 15- Lady Gaga marks fourth visit to Sprint Center on her Joanne World Tour. 


THE ECONOMICS

    Here’s a big, resounding “wow!” moment: In the first five years following Sprint Center’s 2007 ribbon-cutting ceremony, the arena contributed a combined $643.1 million to the city, metropolitan and Missouri state economies. Today, the total economic activity attributed to Sprint Center is over $1.01 billion.

   Those are some big numbers, Barnes agrees, but the real indicator of Sprint Center’s economic impact is the ripple effect it’s had on downtown, the surrounding neighborhoods and the metropolitan area as a whole.

   In terms of jobs, Sprint Center employs approximately 966 full-time and part-time employees. Those numbers don’t take into consideration the number of jobs generated by the downtown businesses that have sprung up to support the influx of activity and tourism.
 “Sprint Center has been an enormous catalyst for additional development,” she says. “There is no doubt in my mind that much of the development in the Crossroads area, the Midtown, Plaza and Riverfront areas and even north of the river – Briarcliff and further out from there – is all related to the core of our downtown. Things like the streetcar, the new KCI terminal – Sprint Center laid the groundwork for those efforts.”

"Since it opened, the arena has been consistently named as one of the busiest venues in the United States and one of the premiere sites worldwide. In Pollstar Magazine’s 2017 Third-Quarter issue, it was recognized as the eighth busiest arena in the country."

   All this has been accomplished without an anchor tenant like a pro NBA or NHL team. But, Barnes adds, college basketball has done enormously well at Sprint Center, with the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship scheduled there through 2020. In 2017, there were over 140 events at the arena – an impressively packed schedule that included the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the NCAA basketball tournaments, the NCAA volleyball championship and the Showdown for Relief Basketball Game between Missouri and Kansas that raised more than $2.1 million.

   Not to mention, Tinnen says, the slew of artists that came to Sprint Center for the first time in the last year, including Amy Schumer, the Lumineers, the Chainsmokers and the Gorillaz. Then there was Garth Brooks, who returned to Sprint Center to deliver a sold-out seven-show marathon for some 164,000 fans. Thanks to the arena, Radiohead selected Kansas City as one of only five stops in North America in 2017.
 Without 41 guaranteed event dates from an anchor tenant, Sprint Center’s calendar is far from suffering – and the diversity of events is something Tinnen is proud of. Since it opened, the arena has been consistently named as one of the busiest venues in the United States and one of the premiere sites worldwide. In Pollstar Magazine’s 2017 third-quarter issue, it was recognized as the eighth busiest arena in the country. Not bad for a venue that hasn’t hit puberty yet.

   “The increased attraction to Kansas City from a regional tourism perspective and even beyond has been incredible,” Barnes says. “There’s no reason for that not to continue in the future. What we’re seeing is Sprint Center’s mushroom effect: Downtown is the heart of the region, and the heart has to be healthy to survive. We’re seeing that the heart of the region is now healthy.”

 

Mariner Kemper Chairman and CEO of UMB Banking

mariner kemper

 

   MEET THE PEOPLE

   Mariner Kemper, Chairman and CEO of UMB Financial, has worked with many visionaries who have helped bring great ideas to life. And he says Sprint Center General Manager, Brenda Tinnen, is one who painted a bright picture for him several years ago. It was a trip to the Los Angeles’ Staples Center, almost 15 years ago, that showed Kemper just how important a new venue could be for Kansas City.

   “Brenda Tinnen is sneaky. She invited me on a trip to L.A. where the idea was to see what possibilities could come to fruition in Kansas City. I received a really wonderful tour of Staples Center which culminated in a visit to the locker room and a personalized jersey with my name embroidered on the back – it was even accompanied by crowd-cheering sounds. She is really good at helping someone see the vision of what could be.”

   Kemper, one of Kansas City’s biggest cheerleaders, said even without the tour, he knew the importance of bringing a new venue to the city. “I knew there was an existing opportunity and an appetite to be satisfied,” the banker shares, “It was easy for me, as someone who loves Kansas City, to see how Sprint Center could be a centerpiece of the total redevelopment of downtown.”

   A decade later, Kemper is not surprised by the impact Sprint Center has had on the local community and on downtown. “It is hard to not draw lines from this building being built, to One Light and Two Light, to Cosentinos, to the light rail and the development around it, and the Freight District. It really accelerated everything.” He adds, “It’s downtown. It’s urban. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture. It’s easy to access, easy to use. It anchors the city in a really nice way.”

   Kemper is also keen about the shared values of AEG (the company that manages and operates, Sprint Center) and UMB.

   “The AEG family’s practices and beliefs are very similar to the way UMB looks at the world. We are both committed to the communities, and AEG is a great corporate citizen. I can tell you first hand that when I’m involved in something very important, AEG is one of the first organizations to step up and support the things I’m trying to make happen here in town. It means a lot to me.”

   UMB’s Sprint Center support is also a huge plus for their customers with the “Count on more Lounge” inside Sprint Center. It’s the first concept of its kind in the country and functions as a welcoming space for UMB customers to socialize prior to a concert or sporting event.

   Kemper says Sprint Center is all about making memories, and he’s had some wow moments. The ones he most fondly looks back on are the times spent at Sprint Center with his family. His favorite recollection is the evening he took his daughter to see Miley Cyrus during her Hannah Montana days. “We were able to meet her, take pictures, and see her show. It was a night I’ll never forget.”

 

Bob Page Sprint Center

bob page

 

   The University of Kansas Health System’s decision to partner with Sprint Center was initially met with some skepticism. A not-for-profit organization with an entertainment venue? Does this really fit?

   “But if you strip all that away, you think about, what are we trying to accomplish here? And that’s what the right thing is for the community. It made perfect sense,” says Bob Page, President and CEO of University of Kansas Health System. “You have a leader in Sprint, but then you now have Sprint Center and AEG, and then oh, by the way, you’ve got this fledgling University of Kansas Health System. And we were nine years into our transformation at that time. We were on the right track, and this was a great opportunity for us to show our commitment to the community in a different way than we’ve typically done. A partnership for something that Kansas City needed. I think now, 10 years later, people don’t even question why we’re a founding partner. They look at the success of Sprint Center and everybody’s just wowed.”

   Page vividly remembers flying out to Denver with Greg Graves, UKH’s board chair at the time, to meet with Philip Anschutz of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company that operates Sprint Center. Page and Graves pitched the idea of a clinic within the confines of Sprint Center, something that hadn’t been incorporated into any AEG building. Anschutz, ever the creative thinker, jumped at the opportunity to make Sprint Center a trendsetter for this particular model with Sprint Center Urgent Care, located next to the College Basketball Experience.

   “Sure, that’s there for Sprint Center employees, but it’s also there for the community, so we’ve got all these corporate headquarters downtown, plus we have new migration into downtown with people moving in,” Page says. “That doesn’t happen with everybody. But Sprint Center saw that partnership possibility and they said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”

   For Page, two special Sprint Center events come to mind: opening night, with its red-carpet spectacle; and Garth Brooks’ nine shows in November 2007. Page was at the first, third, and eighth concerts, and by that eighth show Brooks was bent over from exhaustion on stage. But it was a testament to how much everyone wanted Sprint Center to get off to a great start.

   “Cities around the country are trying to rejuvenate downtown. Sprint Center became an anchor for that rejuvenation, and I think that has been a great story,” Page says. “What’s more important is the sustainability of that, because some cities have done it and then it’s a flash in the pan and it’s gone. Sprint Center as an anchor has stayed, has attracted local, regional, national, international talent and audiences. So that by itself, with everything that’s been able to build around it, has been phenomenal. It’s no different than what you see at our campus. We build here and now everybody wants to be around us. It’s the same thing at Sprint Center. Downtown, anchored by Sprint Center, who knows what can be next?”

 

Kathy Collins H&R Block Kansas city Sprint Center

kathy collins

 

     Before Sprint Center’s 10th anniversary, there was H&R Block’s 10th anniversary in its downtown headquarters on One H&R Block Way in October 2016.

   “Most people don’t even realize that H&R Block was here in the downtown area before Sprint Center was,” says Kathy Collins, H&R Block’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer who is starting her 12th year with the company. “And yet we knew what was coming, and we knew at the time that it would be a great partnership, because Sprint Center would allow us to attract even higher-quality talent. And the hope was that H&R Block, with our national headquarters being right next door, would help Sprint Center attract better acts. So it really worked out. It’s mutually beneficial, to say the least.”

   The only other partnership that H&R Block currently has outside the city limits is with the New York Mets. The others are with the biggest names in sports and entertainment in Kansas City. The tax company also enjoys associations with the Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting Kansas City, and its relationship with Sprint Center further signifies a deep loyalty to the community.

   “The fact that we have a partnership that is as strong and has lasted so long, and will continue to last, is very, very important to us,” Collins says. “There is an energy around Sprint Center that really extends beyond downtown. People want to be a part of it.”

   H&R Block’s connection with Sprint Center is huge for its associates to take advantage of concerts and games, and with more than 1,000 people in its headquarters, Collins says the excitement spreads throughout the building on the day of an event.

   “I have so many amazing memories of concerts from Sprint Center: Probably my favorites would be Bruno Mars both times, because I’ve never seen an entertainer quite like him,” Collins says. “But then I’ll tell you the one that surprised me the most was Eric Church. When he opened for George Strait, it was the first time I had seen him and he blew me away. I have been so amazed by the acts that Sprint Center has been able to bring in, in terms of musical acts.”

   When an iconic Kansas City brand meshes this well with Sprint Center, another 10 years looks like a sure thing.

   “They are the most accommodating people I’ve worked with across all of our partnerships,” Collins says, “and they do everything they can to make sure every event is a memorable and great experience for us.

 

Rick Frazier Sprint Center Heartland Coca Cola

rick frazier

 

   Rick Frazier, the President of Heartland Coca-Cola bottling company (owned by former NBA star Junior Bridgeman) is relatively new to Kansas City, and he confesses that at the top of his To Do list was to partner with Sprint Center.

   “That was one of my first objectives was to get Sprint Center. They didn’t know that, but it was because with Coca-Cola, our consumers are really excited about two things – music and sports – and where best to do it in? Not just one of the best venues in North America, but in the world.”

   Frazier admits he was wowed by Sprint Center and its employees. “First of all, just knowing the reputation of Sprint Center really attracted me to come here, from the musical performers to the athletics. Then, the quality of people – in terms of the ticket takers to the people behind the counters – was a real selling point.”

   He calls this an exciting time to partner with Sprint Center and be a part of downtown Kansas City. “We’re really happy to be here and really see it as a great opportunity of growth and to be part of the community. We have three pillars we operate on. One is to be invested in our people, and our people are important. The other thing is being part of the community.”

   This business leader says he feels that Kansas City is poised for great things and he’s excited to be a part of it, calling the next decade one of unprecedented growth for Sprint Center and KC.

   “We want to have lasting relationships, and that’s what we believe we’re going to have with Sprint Center and the city and the community. I think the investment and the growth is only picking up.”

   Frazier’s first Sprint Center concert was Garth Brooks, and he admits to being so blown away by the total Sprint Center experience that it might have turned him into a Garth Brooks fan. “It didn’t start out that way, but I left being a big Garth Brooks enthusiast. He was a remarkable entertainer in a remarkable venue.”

 
Sprint Center

 

   IT'S ABOUT SAFETY & HOSPITALITY

   Thousands of people who don’t know the story behind Sprint Center or understand the economic impact it’s had on Kansas City and the surrounding metropolitan area over the last decade. For so many people, the venue is about one thing: entertainment.

   When Sprint Center is at capacity – somewhere between approximately 15,000 and 19,533, depending on the event production – that translates to a whole lot of people with big expectations. Fortunately, Tinnen knows what she’s doing.

   She emphasizes hospitality – that’s been one of the hallmarks of her illustrious career.

   “The number one thing is to hire the right people,” she says. “You have to hire people that are friendly and approachable and want to be a part of the process. My view of Sprint Center is this is our house, and when we open the doors, we are inviting our guests into our house. If we’re having a party at our own home, that’s how we’re treating the guests that we’re greeting at the door.”

   If Tinnen runs her home anything like she runs Sprint Center, her guests will want for nothing. The flow of people is specifically routed to maximize the space, with staffers – uniformed in bumblebee yellow Oxfords – directing guests to wherever they need to be. A significant portion of Sprint Center’s approximately 600 full- and part-time employees have been with the arena since day one, Tinnen adds.

   “I feel that there’s a lot of pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish with this team,” she says. “I always say that the desire and the passion to do something great is 98 percent of what you need for the job – the other two percent, I can teach you. Because what we do is simple: We just want people to have a great time at the event that they’re here for.”

   Part of having a great time means ensuring that Sprint Center guests are safe. That’s something Tinnen has been concerned with from the beginning – and it’s her you can thank for the magnetometer sensors that have been affixed to every single door in and out of Sprint Center since it opened. Ten years ago, such a security measure was considered gratuitous, and Tinnen chuckles remembering how some believed there would be longer lines as a result.

 

Alicia Keys Kansas City Sprint Center

alicia keys performing at the sprint center

 

   “Absolutely everyone adheres to our security policies,” Tinnen says. “We don’t allow backpacks, we’ve tightened on things that you can and cannot bring into the building – and that’s with everyone, with athletes and coaches and artists. Sometimes they might resent it, but I want everyone to know that I walk through the magnetometer every morning. I take out my credentials and the security guard looks through the contents of my purse. That’s what we all do – there are no exceptions.”

   Tinnen’s safety measures go beyond the walls of Sprint Center, too, as anyone who has come pouring out of the doors and onto Grand Boulevard has noticed. An hour before every show, the blocks surrounding Sprint Center are closed off so that cars aren’t impeding the foot traffic to and from the arena. Tinnen and other Sprint Center leadership work closely with the Kansas City Police and Fire Departments, holding regular meetings. For her, and for the rest of her team at Sprint Center, the work is never over.

   “We’re never at the finish line,” she says. “We want to continue to improve everything that we can at the facility. We have been and will continue to be competitive in terms of getting A-list events here in Kansas City and at Sprint Center. We’re ten years in, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels.”

   Tinnen adds, that there’s an “overwhelming feeling” that occurs at Sprint Center. “It’s emotional. It’s personal. People really feel like the building belongs to them.

 

   A TYPICAL EVENT DAY AT SPRINT CENTER

7:30 a.m. – Event manager and the tour bus arrive.

8:00 a.m. – Stagehands and crew arrive to mark the arena floor. Typically, the touring artist or band provides the stage, barricade and risers needed to make the show all it can be.

9:00 a.m. – The catering crew arrives. The stage load-in begins in the marshaling area and loading docks. An EMT is present for load-in and load-out.

3:00 p.m. – Chair setup begins on the arena floor and set arena floor. All seating aisles are required to be 6-feet wide throughout, with no more than 12 seats per row and no more than 12 rows per section.

4:00 p.m. – The executive staff has an on-site security meeting.

5:10 p.m. – Artist sound check begins.

6:00 p.m. – Grand Street closes and the VIP Party check-in begins. VIP has a different meaning for each concert. It can mean fans get early entry to the venue, attend a meet ‘n’ greet with the artist before their set or attend a special party prior or post show.

7:00 p.m. – Ticket prices are set by the artist/event and can range from $10 to $2500+ (OR MORE!) for a VIP package that could include amenities like early entry, a chance to meet the artist or attend a special party prior or post show.

8:30 p.m. – The opening act takes the stage.

9:00 p.m. – If the bill features two opening acts the second one goes on after a quick set change.

9:50 p.m. – The headliner takes the stage.

11:28 p.m. – The set ends and the artist or band leaves the stage/building.

2:48 a.m. – Load-out ends.

 

  

Sprint Center Michael Chalfie Vice Principal

michael chalfIE

 

   INSIDER INSIGHTS

   Michael Chalfie, VP, Event Services & Operations  

   Best part of your job? I sold life insurance as my first job out of college. When I made the switch to live events (sporting events or concerts), I have really enjoyed that we sell excitement and happiness. You walk through the crowd during a sold-out show and watch people’s faces. It is pretty special.

   Favorite Sprint Center performance in the past 10 years? Opening night with Elton John, then Paul McCartney’s second show at Sprint Center.

   Most surprising thing that’s happened to you? That some of my staff has been around since the building opened. They are so important and they take ownership and are committed to continued success. They passed on other opportunities and have been here through the hard but great times.

   One thing all your friends ask you? Do you meet the artist? Do you really need to separate the colors of the M&M’s for artists? What is the craziest thing an artist has requested?

   Best seat in the house? For sporting events, I want to be very close. Any seat works for concerts as long as the sound guy is good.

   What’s one thing about Sprint Center that would surprise people? Most people are totally intrigued with the conversion process. How do you make ice? How does it work with dirt, then basketball, then ice, then concerts? We actually make the ice right on the concrete floor, as there is a complete cooling system below the floor.

 

Deb Ward VP Administration Sprint Center

deb ward

 

   Deb Ward, VP, Administration

   Best part of your job? Event days. There is an air of excitement in the building all day. Daily assignments are set aside for the day and everyone’s focus is on the artist or show. These days are busy and long but very rewarding.

   Favorite Sprint Center performance in the past 10 years? This is an easy one! I have been fortunate to see some amazing artists, but Carole King and James Taylor, May 21, 2010, was my favorite concert EVER … hands down.

   Most surprising thing that’s happened to you? I am most surprised how my music preference has evolved in the last 10 years. I have been exposed to many different genres that I would have previously ignored. My grandchildren think it’s cool to listen to music with me.

One thing all your friends ask you? Do you get to meet the artists? On occasion I will have an opportunity to meet an artist, but under normal circumstances, the answer is no.

   Best seat in the house? The one that you are sitting in. The seat where you are moved to tears, cannot stop singing or where you never even actually sit. This is the same seat where you witness the look of awe on a child’s face or make a moment of truth that will last a lifetime.

   What’s one thing that would surprise people? We work in an all-glass building and I don’t believe that a single office in here has a window.

 

Brenda Tinnen General Manager Sprint Center

brenda tinnen

 

   Brenda Tinnen, General Manager/ Sr. Vice President

   Best part of your job? It’s all of the people I have the honor to work with each and every day. Sprint Center has a great staff from front of house to back of house. Everyone truly has so much pride and passion not only for this building, but for all of Kansas City. We all strive to be the best we can be as “ladies and gentlemen” and good citizens of Kansas City, with all the wow factor we can add. Also the fact that Sprint Center is a public/private partnership allows me to work closely with the mayor, city manager and city council, as well as my good friends at VisitKC and the Kansas City Sports Commission. The cherry on top is when we open doors for a show and see the faces of the guests as they enter the building to enjoy their favorite artist, team or show or whatever – they are always enthusiastic, passionate, with smiles all around.

   Most surprising thing that’s happened to you? It always does surprise me when people recognize me, either inside or outside of Sprint Center. Everyone is always so nice to thank me for bringing their favorite artist or show to KC. Or someone will share a memory of an event with me. Do not get me wrong, I appreciate the attention and the accolades. However, if not for the great Kansas City culture and fantastic fans, the shows would take a pass on us. So I say, “thank you” to all of our great supporters and “keep it up.”

   Favorite Sprint Center performance in the past 10 years? My favorite moment/performance was the ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 10 at 10:10 a.m. with the Kansas City Philharmonic on Barnes Plaza. It was thrilling to have so many citizens of KC and the region attend. Garth Brooks was in attendance to assist in the ribbon cutting. Then we opened the doors for an open house – Kansas City’s first look through Sprint Center – as our changeover crew changed out the facility from ice hockey to basketball. More than 25,000 people came through our new home for entertainment on that day. Many sat in the seats and stayed a while and asked our staff many questions. Sprint Center was the attraction and opened to great reviews from our most important constituents – our guests.

   One thing all your friends ask you? Do you attend every event? The answer is, I am onsite for the majority of the events at Sprint Center. Sometimes, I think I will stay for just a bit of the show and then leave a little early. Then the show just sucks me right back in to the end when the houselights come up.   

 

Shani Tate Ross VP Marking, Communication and Ticket Sales

shani tate ross

 

   Best part of your job? Witnessing connections and memories being made in real time right before my eyes—artists connecting with fans, friends and families sharing experiences that transcend generations and last a lifetime.

   Favorite Sprint Center performance in the past 10 years? One favorite performance is impossible, so my top four are the legendary Tina Turner during the launch of her North American Tour in 2008, Sade’s elegant and timeless performance in 2011, Justin Timberlake’s two exhilarating shows in 2014 and Bruno Mars, anywhere and everywhere.

   Most surprising thing that’s happened to you? Watching both guests and staff from diverse backgrounds and experiences put aside their preconceived ideas, opinions and prejudices to be united in shared euphoria for a singular moment in time by their favorite artist or group.

   Best seat in the house? As a 5’11” former dancer and aspiring karaoke singer, I am partial to aisle seats to minimize disruptions or encumbrances in the event of an impromptu personal performance.

   What’s one thing about Sprint Center that would surprise people? More than 40 percent of current associates have been employed at Sprint Center since opening in 2007.

   To learn more, visit sprintcenter.com

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