The behinder they get

The Sprint Center in Kansas City, says the official Web site, seats “(depending on configuration) approximately 18,000+”.

It would help if some of those eighteen thousand-plus were supermodels:

It turns out that one-fourth of the Sprint Center’s seats are narrower than seats installed in many other arenas built in the past decade.

Just like Americans, seats have been getting larger in new stadiums, arenas, movie theaters and even cars. After all, middle-age spread is no longer confined to middle age.

But limited space for the downtown arena forced designers to make about 25 percent of the seats, especially in the corners, only 18 inches wide, a Sprint Center spokeswoman said. The rest in the bowl are 19 and 21 inches wide.

Why would they do such a thing? They only had so much space to work with:

[T]he Sprint Center had to be built on only 8½ acres, and that put space constraints on designers.

By comparison, Ford Center seats run 19 to 22 inches wide.

This is not a good sign, says Costa:

Subtract 4,500 — i.e., the cited one-fourth that are sub-width — and that leaves 13,500. Even if you squeeze back in a few more via creative spacing, and make them of sufficient width, the Sprint Center’s still probably got a capacity of around 16,000, tops. Granted, arena operators play loose with “official” capacity (the oldest and easiest trick in the book when it comes to hiding facility revenue streams), but still, this comes off like a shoehorning effort.

It’s sounding more and more like KC is a complete dead end for any hoops or pucks team looking for a new home, or for expansion purposes. If it’s too tight a fit for unfit patrons now, how’s it going to cope with the widening of the Midwestern ass over the next 20 years? Built-in arena obsolescence — by the seat of the pants.

On the upside, it’s still better than freaking Kemper Arena.





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