INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Chiefs and Sporting KC have returned to play with fans in the stands, and now so will a pair of the city’s indoor professional franchises.
Larry Hovick calls March 12 the day the music died. It was the start of the coronavirus shutdown for concerts and pro sports inside Independence’s Cable Dahmer Arena.
“So we started to move those dates. We started to move monster trucks, every event that we had on the books moved away,” Hovick, the arena’s General Manager, recalled.
The arena usually hosts 100 events each year, each employing up to 100 people. Hovick said it still doesn’t make sense financially to try to put on concerts, but the franchises that call the arena home, the Kansas City Mavericks of the ECHL and Kansas City Comets of the MASL, both plan to begin 2020-2021 season play win December.
“We don’t have a big TV contract to fall back on. It is all about ticket sales and sponsorships,” Scott Levinson, vice president of the Kansas City Comets, said.
Now with a g- ahead from health officials for 30% capacity in the 5,000-seat arena, or 1,600 people, each team is preparing for play in their leagues against other teams in cities that will allow fans.
“Eastern Jackson County has a gathering protocol that I have to fill out, but it’s very helpful for me knowing that I’m doing what they want me to do and we are able to have a stamp of approval,” Hovick said.
The ECHL has announced 13, or half of its teams, will begin play the weekend of Dec. 11. The rest hope to begin play in January. Tickets for games are expected to go on sale Dec. 4.
Cable Dahmer will host MASL’s All-Star game Dec. 5. It’s the league’s first All-Star affair in nearly two decades. Then after a weekend of MMA fights, the arena will play host to the Mavericks’ and the Comets’ home openers on back to back nights, Dec. 18 and 19.
One change they won’t have to make between games involves the nets and glass. Usually removed for soccer, they’ll remain in place to keep balls from going into the stands, avoiding possible infection. Fans will also be required to wear masks.
The Comets said they haven’t had a single request to cancel season tickets.
“We just know that we’ll make it through. Our fans are passionate about the team and the game, and they are going to support us and come out,” Levinson said.