A new home, new facilities and hope for a better season brought 60,000 fans to Western’s campus for Kansas City Chiefs training camp this summer.
The Kansas City Chiefs came to Western’s campus on July 30th to a packed first practice of over 3,000 fans. With 2010 being the first year for the Chiefs summer training camp in St. Joseph, many fans were coming to get a glimpse of their team without driving hours to see them.
The Chiefs had spent the last 19 seasons in River Falls, WI. With the camp being so much closer to Kansas City, officials saw a big rise in attendance. In 2009, Kansas City drew a crowd of a little over 1,650 to their Family Fun Day. In 2010, the Chiefs drew a crowd of 10,721 to Family Fun Day, which also set the Spratt Stadium attendance record that was set last Oct. against Northwest with a crowd of 10,129.
With training camp being so close to home, the players, coaching staff and MWSU officials noticed a special kind of excitement that surrounded the three week long camp.
“It has been fabulous for us in terms of facilities, closeness of everything and the energy from all the fans at the practices,” Chiefs GM, Scott Pioli, said in a press conference on Aug. 11th.
Not only was the attendance for Family Fun Day massive, the entire camp saw over 60,000 people come through the gates. MWSU and Chiefs officials were predicting 100,000 fans to come to camp but 60,000 was still higher than any camp in River Falls.
The Chiefs are entering their second season under head coach Todd Haley and looking for improvement from last season. Those improvements are things that are being addressed during training camp. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli also brought in a new offensive coordinator, Charlie Weiss, as well as a new defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel. Haley worked alongside both Weiss and Crennel in New England before the three coaches teamed up again in Kansas City. Now that Kansas City has a group of coaches that are familiar with each other they are hoping the camaraderie will carry over to the team in their new training camp home.
“It’s a great facility to work and concentrate and build camaraderie with your teammates and some chemistry,” Chiefs wide receiver Chris Chambers said.
For Haley and his coaches, training camp hasn’t been all about getting record crowds, rather it has been about making improvements for the upcoming season.
“This is a great setup and facilities but it has also been, in my opinion, a very productive camp,” Haley said in a press conference on Aug 19.
MWSU officials have been in constant contact with Chiefs officials all throughout training camp so that the two parties can find even more ways to improve the training camp for next season to make sure that the fan support remains in summers to come.