By Bill Clevlen
The fountains in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium may be off for the season, but that doesn’t mean the place is empty until opening day rolls around. In fact, when professional or college sports teams in the region take a break, their home venues are often available for special events and gatherings. Even when a team’s season is in progress, a wide variety of space is up for grabs…before games, after games, and yes – even as a game is happening.
“We play a lot of baseball games at Kauffman Stadium but only half the year” says Royals VP of Publicity, Toby Cook. “But that means we need to look for ways to use the space the other half of the year and when the team is out of town. These areas of the stadium that we rent to the public are popular and have worked very well for us.”
Areas might include the team’s board room or outdoor stadium concourse. The Royals Hall of Fame is also a popular spot. Nearby, Arrowhead Stadium offers lounge space which can be transformed into anything from conference space to formal lunches or dinners. The North Club is Arrowhead’s most popular spot offering beautiful window views of Founders Plaza and the local skyline. At 18,860 square feet, it’s also the largest rental space in the stadium. Smaller options include the Press Club and Locker Room Club.
When the race cars aren’t zooming around the 1.5 mile tri-oval speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, the Kansas Speedway also offers some great options for meeting space. A racing-themed party on the track? A fundraiser in one of the garages? Maybe you could utilize the massive parking lot for a large outdoor function.
On the other side, across the state of Missouri in downtown St. Louis, Busch Stadium offers more than 15 unique spaces for gatherings. From a lavish affair on the field with the Gateway Arch hovering above the skyline, to smaller – yet fun – venues within the stadium…the possibilities are plentiful. How about a corporate lunch in the Cardinals Clubhouse? You could welcome up to 100 guests and enjoy a private stadium tour, with parking included for a weekday rate of $3,000 during the off-season. (Food and beverage minimums additional.) Other spaces around Busch Stadium include the Champion Club, the Press Room dining area, and the Coca-Cola Scoreboard Patio.
While professional sports venues in the region offer a bit of glamour to your event, local or college sports venues can also be a great spot for a unique setting. In Columbia, Mizzou offers a wide range of their sports facilities for public rentals. Some of the options include soccer fields, sections of the aquatic center, a climbing wall, basketball courts, and eight dedicated meeting rooms.
All around Missouri, colleges – both big and small – typically offer some sort of sports venue(s) for private events. Keeping in mind that students and alumni often get first dibs on booking; from gymnasiums to gathering spaces outside of stadiums – these venues can be great for almost any gathering.
Amanda Schomaker of Big Sports Properties says that private events are well-served in sports venues. While working to build the forthcoming POWERplex complex in St. Louis County, she notes that special events and rentals will be a regular part of their operations. Those spaces will include everything from places to play beach volleyball to 7 on 7 football and ultimate frisbee. The 1.5 million square foot venue is expected to replace the Saint Louis Mills shopping center in Hazelwood, Missouri.