Partnership Reports

How CPKC Stadium has Forever Changed Women's Sports

May 15, 2024

In the heart of Kansas City, a landmark project opened earlier this year: CPKC Stadium—the $120 million venue that was crafted exclusively for the Kansas City Current of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). This initiative not only set a precedent in venues for women’s sports (it’s the first of its kind) but also served as a catalyst for local economic and community engagement. 

Here's an inside look at how this groundbreaking project came to life.

The construction of the Kansas City Current stadium was never just about sports. It's about fostering a community and growing a brand—a brand that has seen a nearly a 70% YoY follower increase on social media platforms—from the ground up. Choosing CPKC, a local railway company, for the naming rights emphasizes a commitment to Kansas City, integrating community identity with not just a local sports team, but with a local women’s sports team. 

Over 50% of the Current's sponsors are headquartered within the local media market, illustrating a sponsorship model for strong regional business involvement. This strategic approach strengthens business operations and creates a mutual growth trajectory for both the team and its partners, all the while enhancing the regional fan experience. More than 20% of all Kansas City Current sponsorship deals include a venue activation asset, which include things like photo opportunities, product sample distribution, and interactive booths. These types of activities are a really great way to engage with the local community during Current games.

The Kansas City Current leveraged every meeting at community events, along with every interaction at games, to build a strong foundation of support with city leaders, VIPS, and fans. How did they do it? By emphasizing genuine community relationships and sustaining engagement through both digital and in-person platforms.

For organizations looking to make a mark in sports sponsorship, the Kansas City Current (and its noteworthy build of this new stadium), offers valuable lessons:

  1. Local Alignment: Engage with local businesses for sponsorship opportunities to drive deeper community connections and brand loyalty. Prioritize community engagement strategies that resonate on a local level to build a loyal fan base.
  1. Data-Driven Decisions: Leverage every interaction as an opportunity to gather insights and continuously enrich your understanding of your audience. Whether it's through community events, online engagements, or direct feedback at games, each touchpoint is a valuable source of data. Analyzing these interactions will allow you to tailor your strategies to meet the specific needs and preferences of your fans, thereby enhancing the overall fan experience and improving engagement strategies over time.
  1. Effective Team Building: Assemble a team with essential skills and expertise. This is important in the early stages of any organization, but it’s especially critical in sports when both the league and venue are newer to the community. Prioritize hires who understand and value the local community and can help enhance engagement efforts and drive other efficiencies. Don't overlook the importance of administrative support as hiring an assistant can streamline your workflow and ensure focus remains on strategic goals.

Allison Howard—former President and Senior Advisor to the Board of the Kansas City Current—granted us an exclusive interview that was instrumental in shaping this story. With a wealth of experience in sports marketing and deep ties to the community, Allison provided us with unique insights into the strategic initiatives that propelled the team's growth and engagement. Her expertise, dedication, and vision helped to establish the Kansas City Current as a leader and innovator in women’s sports.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter:
Sign up for a Demo of SponsorUnited:
Please fill out the form below for your FREE download of the report.
Women Sports
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.