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Consultant says Kemper Youth-Sports Plan Is Sound But Ambitious

CC: SA2.5

A consultant hired by the Kansas City council to analyze whether a plan to convert Kemper arena into a youth sports and fitness complex has told a council committee the plan has great opportunities for exciting success, but Dale Neuberger of TSE Consulting also added a caveat.

"The plan is sound – albeit one that you take a ... a big gulp when you think about the monthly revenue and the monthly members. It's a lot of people and it's a lot of money. And that's somewhat the reality of doing business in this field,” Newberger said.

The consultant said operating the revamped Kemper would require $250,000 a month and traffic of 600,000 people a year.

That is achievable, he said, but only with a dedicated, specialized sales and marketing effort to bring in anchor tenants, tournaments, individual members and area sports teams.

Neuberger said the plan for a youth soccer, basketball and fitness facility is unique and offers exciting opportunities both to serve area youth and adults, and to reach out to bring in tournaments and amateur sports events from the region and the nation.

Finding anchor tenants, probably three, are also critical, he said.

Neuberger said TSE only analyzed the plan submitted by Foutch Brothers, and did not examine any other plan or compare the potential success of the Foutch Brothers proposal with the competing one from the American Royal.

The American Royal board has so far insisted that Kemper Arena be razed to make way for a new, smaller facility. Coexistence of Kemper Arena and their planned arena is impossible, they say, because the space occupied by the larger old arena is needed for the annual American Royal Barbecue Competition.

The American Royal proposal also has a sports component involving partnering with Sporting Kansas City.

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