Jackson County voters made this possible: Major League Baseball's (MLB) All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in 2012.
In April of 2006 voters approved remodeling the Jackson County-owned Truman Sports Complex, home to both Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums. At the time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig pledged that if Kauffman Stadium were renovated "The K" would play host to baseball's annual mid-season All-Star Game. Now he has made it official.
Calling it "the right thing to do," Selig formally awarded the 83rd All-Star Game to Kauffman Stadium during an on-field ceremony Wednesday, June 16. He joined Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and Kansas City Royals owner David Glass for the unveiling of a sign beneath Kauffman Stadium's huge scoreboard proclaiming "Home of the 2012 All-Star Game."
Renovations to "The K" were completed, on budget and a year ahead of schedule, prior to the Royals 2009 season opener. Selig toured Kauffman Stadium prior to the All-Star announcement. He described the renovations that made "The K" once again a state-of-the-art facility in a single word: "Remarkable."
"I want to thank Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball for honoring the commitment that our community made to this ball park by bring this historic event to Kauffman Stadium," said County Executive Sanders.
St. Louis reported a $60 million windfall as the host city for the 2009 All-Star Game. Early projections indicate the 2012 game could have about a $70 million impact on Greater Kansas City's economy. Anaheim, California, is hosting the 2010 All-Star Game next month. Both Anaheim and Phoenix, the 2011 host, anticipate the game giving their communities a similar economic jolt.
First KC All-Star Since 1973
Kansas City last hosted the All-Star in 1973, the same summer that a then brand new Royals Stadium opened. (The stadium's name was later changed to honor Royals founder Ewing Kauffman.) A lot has changed since 1973.
The All-Star game is now nearly a week-long gala that includes the FanFest interactive theme park, an All-Star Futures Game for baseball's top minor-league prospects and the Home Run Derby -- all building up to the "Mid-Summer Classic," itself.
"You will discover the 2012 event will be much different, much bigger and much better [than in 1973]," stated Selig.
Thanking The Voters
County Legislator Dennis Waits (3rd District) and Sanders each emphasized that credit for the All-Star Game returning to Kansas City must go to Jackson County's voters.
"It's going to be a week to remember," Waits said. "Jackson County voters helped make this happen and we need to thank them."
The 2012 game will be the third All-Star contest played in Kansas City -- with the first being played at Municipal Stadium back in 1960 (when KC was home to the Athletics). Sanders is eager for the metropolitan region to again be showcased as a big league community. The All-Star game will shine both a national and global spotlight on Greater Kansas City. Last season's All-Star broadcast was transmitted to 230 different countries -- in 17 different languages.
"In July 2012, the eyes of the world and baseball history will be on Kansas City and the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium," said Sanders. "What they will find is not only a ballpark with some of the best fan amenities in baseball, but a Major League city with small town hospitality."