With Sporting Kansas City’s home opener on Saturday, team President Jake Reid gives a rundown on new things fans will see at Children’s Mercy Park and updates on a range of other ways fans can stay in the game. Here’s a quick recap of the roster of tasks the team tackled:
The biggest change for fans to look for is a multimillion-dollar renovation of the UMB Field Club. The area, where fans have access to food, drinks and watch teams walk through to enter the pitch, is Sporting’s most unique, exclusive and highest-demand space.
“We’ve redone a lot of the spaces over the 12 years since the stadium’s opening, but this is one of the spaces we haven’t really touched,” Reid said. “It’s brand new now, so the fans in that space will be blown away. It’s been completely redesigned from top to bottom. Think of a home renovation where you tear everything down to the studs and redo it. That’s kind of what we did. So it’s a nice facelift for fans.”
Sporting Kansas City also formed a five-year partnership with Huhtamaki, making it the team’s official sustainable packaging provider and naming rights sponsor for the Shield Club at Children’s Mercy Park. The Huhtamaki Shield Club has about 1,000 seats right on the center pitch line.
Reid said Huhtamaki will make some changes to the Shield Club over time and will work to help Sporting KC reduce the environmental footprint of stadium operations by moving toward compostable and recyclable products in all premium spaces.
Sporting KC plans to introduce composting depositories throughout Children’s Mercy Park and work to increase awareness of compostable practices.
Reid said another big change this offseason was Major League Soccer partnering with Apple TV to show all of its games. Although some games will be broadcast with an Apple TV subscription, to see all the games requires an MLS subscription. All season-ticket holders get a complimentary subscription.
“It’s only been a couple of weeks, but it’s been amazing so far,” Reid said. “From a fan standpoint, it’s super easy, there are no blackouts, everything is one-stop shop, and you know exactly where every match is going to be.”
Sporting KC also intends to add sports betting facilities to Children’s Mercy Park, taking advantage of a new state law that saw betting begin in September. Reid said the team is working out the details, which could include a sports wagering lounge or kiosks around the stadium where fans can place bets.
“We’re still figuring out our partnerships, but we’re close on that,” Reid said. “I think the fantasy element will be a big part of it. That’s been a real game-changing moment for the NFL, helping people start to learn the players by who is on your fantasy team, and it makes you follow the league more. You’ll also see just straight betting on games, on who is going to win or who is going to score the first goal. There could be anything and everything there for us. We just want the right partner for that because it’s all brand new to us and we want someone who has expertise. It will be a big experience point for our fans, so making sure we’ve got the right partner will be really important.”
Sporting KC also will continue to increase its involvement in esports, taking part in all the MLS competitions. Reid said the team sees esports as another place to engage with soccer fans.
“If you look at Twitch and some of the platforms, the more we can engage there and have a presence there, the better it is for our brand,” Reid said. “How that translates into dollars and cents is hard to tell, but certainly just having a brand impact and being part of it is important to us.”
During the offseason, Sporting has remained involved in all the 2026 World Cup planning for Kansas City to host games and serve as a base camp, he said.
“The Compass Minerals National Performance Center will definitely be a base camp for a country,” Reid said. “We expect our stadium to be used either as a training site when teams are coming in or for friendlies in the lead-up to World Cup matches. So our facilities will be heavily used during that time period. I don’t even know how to describe the impact that will have, but any time there is a World Cup, we see a natural lift with more eyeballs on our product and more people coming out and buying tickets. So we’re certainly excited from a city and sports standpoint.”
Ticket sales for this season are off to a good start, he said. It’s standing room only for Saturday night’s home opener, and the team’s second home game will be sold out, as well. He expects Children’s Mercy Park to be pretty full for every match this season.
“We have a lot of fans from Omaha who drive down,” Reid said. “Nebraska in general, Iowa, Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas are great for us. We pull pretty well from those areas. So we try to turn the small market on its head. We might have a smaller market in Kansas City, but we’ve got a pretty good footprint, and we’re always always trying to tap into that.”
Sporting KC still has plenty of partnership opportunities available. The biggest one now is a patch partner on the team’s kits.
“We’ve had some good conversations on that,” Reid said. “We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve got a great list of partners that have re-upped with us and some new ones that have come on board this year. We’re excited to kick off our home opener on Saturday.”
Wire services are provided under license from Newswires (EIN).