Kansas City Current hope to lead way with first purpose-built women’s stadium

Kansas City Current hope to set a precedent for other sports after opening the world’s first purpose-built arena for a women’s football team.

The club, which is co-owned by three-time Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes and his wife Brittany, opened their doors to a 11,500-capacity CPKC Stadium in the National Women’s Soccer League season-opener against Portland Thorns on March 16.

The sold-out CPKC Stadium crowd were treated to a nine-goal thriller as Current raced into a 5-1 lead with 22 minutes remaining, only for Portland to reduce the deficit to 5-4 in stoppage time to set up a tense finale.

History was also made in the match as 16-year-old Alex Pfeiffer became the youngest goalscorer in NSWL regular-season history when netting Kansas’ fifth goal on her professional debut.

Angie Long, who co-owns the club alongside her husband Chris and the Mahomes, believes having their own stadium has many long-term benefits.

She said: “What a lot of people ask us is, ‘why do you guys need your own stadium, can’t you just play in someone else’s stadium?’ I want to know what major successful sports franchise in the world is just happy to be a tenant in someone else’s stadium?

“Financially, it is completely justified as well, both on the expense side and revenue side it is a benefit to own your facilities.

“You’re not paying someone else to rent and you’re generating a tremendous amount more of revenue opportunities whether that is through sponsorships, through food and beverage opportunities, through events.

Kansas City Current opened their 11,500-capacity CPKC Stadium on March 16
Kansas City Current opened their 11,500-capacity CPKC Stadium on March 16 (Kansas City Current handout/PA)

Current have progressed significantly from a disappointing 2023 campaign, where they finished 11th in the 12-team league.

Investment has been pumped in ahead of their fourth season in the NWSL, with former United States boss Vlatko Andonovski coming in as head coach and sporting director, while Argentina midfielder Sophia Braun and Canada forward Nichelle Prince have joined the playing staff.

They currently sit top of the NSWL table on goal difference ahead of Orlando Pride after winning six of their opening nine league matches, drawing the other three.

A view of the home changing room at the state-of-the-art CPKC Stadium
A view of the home changing room at the state-of-the-art CPKC Stadium (Kansas City Current handout/PA)

“I think there is something uniquely special about the way our players engage with our fans that seems to be a little bit different on the women’s side than we see on the men’s side, with just how interactive they are, how long they stay on the field, how long they sign autographs and how important it is for them to be part of the community.

“So that embracing of the community has been a big part of our stadium build.”

Plans for the CPKC Stadium came to fruition when Angie Long and Brittany Mahomes announced they had signed a 50-year lease for the location at Berkley Riverfront Park in October 2021. A training complex was unveiled in June 2022, also the first to be built for a women’s sports team in the United States.

The stadium cost $117million (£91.86m) to construct and boasts features such as a safe standing section for supporters, while the press box has also been dedicated to American sports journalist and Kansas native Grant Wahl, who died in December 2022 at the age of 49.

Brittany Mahomes enjoyed a successful football collegiate career at the University of Texas at Tyler, which led to a brief spell at Icelandic side UMF Afturelding in 2017 before retiring from the sport later that year.

Mahomes and the Long family have owned the club since being founded four years ago before her NFL quarterback husband Patrick joined the ownership group in January 2023.

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