Pro-stadium groups clearly followed the "new digs" playbook to get the deal done. It's equal parts hope, fear, and subterfuge. Here's a recap of how it got done:
- Promote fear over the team(s) leaving. Not that Chiefs would ever leave, but fear motivates. A most telling quote came from Steve Glorioso, one of the campaign’s strategists: “I think the campaign struck the right balance between keeping the teams and the subtle threat that they might leave.” It also doesn't hurt to point out the economic impact losing one or more teams would have on the local economy.
- Get media support. The Kansas City Star (a Knight-Ridder publication) came out in favor of the project two days prior to the election.
- Break out the celebs and memories. Royals great George Brett and some current Chiefs players were out in public hawking the paper - the same paper that supported the initiative. The campaign didn't hesitate to evoke memories of past Royals/Chiefs glory days.
- If you have to have a vote, don't have it in November. Putting ballot measures like these on a spring or primary ballot tends to make for better results since supportive fans may be more likely to vote than those who simply look at the ballot as limited and otherwise not worthy of their time. This time the stadium package brought more voters than expected out of the woodwork.
- Outspend the opposition. The pro-stadium group spent $1.55 million on their campaign. The anti-stadium group spent $501. That's well over a 3,000-to-1 ratio.