With the departure of the Rams, there’s a void in St. Louis for some quality football action. Will the Chiefs extend into eastern Missouri, or be rejected?
Since the St. Louis Rams moved to Los Angeles, the Kansas City Chiefs have a fairly unique marketing issue on their hands. Do they fill the football void left in the large city, or take a slower, more methodical approach? Chiefs’ President Mark Donovan suggests the latter.
Donovan must keep in mind that St. Louis has a very loyal fanbase (think Cardinals or Blues). Also, Donovan must carefully navigate the marketing waters in eastern Missouri. With all the sports bars and restaurants who were no doubt focused on the Rams in the winter, what do those businesses do now? Donovan maintains that he will not upset Rams’ fans by pushing the Chiefs’ image too much.
We are not at the stage to be aggressive,” Donovan said. “We’re not gonna go conquer the world in St. Louis. We’re gonna continue that strategic, methodical approach.”
Part of that approach has meant partnering with numerous St. Louis radio stations.
This upcoming season marks the second consecutive year the Chiefs have partnered with local St. Louis CBS affiliate, KMOV. This station will air all of the Chiefs’ games, including preseason. Donovan told St. Louis Post reporter Jim Thomas that their numbers are on the rise, up 20 percent from last year’s opening preseason game. The Chiefs are a popular team right now, and they have six games scheduled on primetime TV this season.
It’s hard to tell what factors are contributing to that rise, however. For one, this year’s opening preseason game was on a Friday night, while last year’s took place on a Saturday afternoon. Also, many Chiefs fans may have wanted to catch a glimpse of first-round draft pick Patrick Mahomes, the 21-year-old who’s been billed as the Chiefs’ star player of the future. So there’s no doubt that more fans tuned in on Friday to catch his stellar, two-touchdown performance against the Cincinnati Bengals.
For the Chiefs’ faithful, there’s a lot to look forward to — an excitement and anticipation that might bleed into former fan bases. The Chiefs have fared much better in the win/loss columns over the last few years, so it’s possible they’ll draw fans from eastern Missouri organically. Regardless, if St. Louis residents tune into the games, sheer proximity might force the city into the red and yellow, eventually. We’ve seen it before with the Kansas City Royals, who attract fans from all over western Kansas and eastern Missouri.
So why not add the arch-lovers to the Chiefs’ faithful? It’s only a three-hour drive, and hey, KC’s got the BBQ.