CHIEFS PRESIDENT MARK DONOVAN
OPENING STATEMENT: **"Thanks for joining us for this sort of impromptu interview. I thought I'd take a chance to acknowledge how excited we are about announcing the extension of our training camp agreement with Missouri Western. The school sent a release earlier today and we've been working for a couple months now with Dr. Robert Vartabedian and Josh Looney, their Athletic Director, to put together an extension that will keep us in St. Joseph next year and possibly beyond. We're just excited about that. The entire community has been so supportive since we've moved back in 2010 and the school has been really, really cooperative. We went back and forth on a few little things this offseason to make sure it was good for them and good for us and came to a great conclusion so we're excited about that. Obviously, with the timing of the Wild Card game I thought I would take all the questions you have on the Wild Card game."
Q: Josh (Looney), obviously used to work with the Chiefs – did that help with the negotiation?
DONOVAN: "Yeah it's funny. In negotiation, it helps and hurts, right, because you know each other so well. But it was great to work with Josh. We're excited that he's back (in the area). Dr. Robert Vartabedian talked to me about Josh prior to hiring him and talked to me about how excited he was after he hired Josh, and to have him back. His knowledge of how we work and what it takes during training camp is really a benefit for us and I think for the university."
Q: Any ice in the forecast for the game on Saturday?
DONOVAN: "A little different from last year. I've got to thank the league – we're obviously in discussions with the league as soon as there is a possibility in hosting a game – and weather was a factor. There's a lot of factors that come into play with that but the league considered everything and it ended up we got a perfect day for us which is Saturday."
Q: How are ticket sales doing?
DONOVAN: "They're great. I've heard a lot of talk about ticket sales out there, I think there's some reality that needs to be shared. As an organization we're really proud of our fans. People don't realize all the intricacies and how tickets work, the secondary market, the primary market, the Season Ticket Members versus single-game sales. We're doing very, very well. The reality from the statistical standpoint is, we had over 88 percent of our Season Ticket Members opt in to buy playoff tickets before they knew if we were going to host a playoff game. We're thankful for that. We're proud of that. That says something about our fan base. The reality of where we are today, you hear about Jacksonville, you hear about New Orleans, you hear about L.A. and the movement of the Wild Card weekend – the Wild Card weekend is different. We've sold more tickets than the Jacksonville Jaguars today. We will – at the end of this – sell more tickets than New Orleans. By the way things are pacing right now, we'll sell more tickets than L.A., for the Wild Card game. A game that nobody knew we were hosting. A game against the Tennessee Titans in a market that it's going to be 34 degrees and sunny, but it's not going to be 78 degrees and sunny like it will be in Jacksonville or L.A. And we're proud of that. That's what makes Arrowhead so special. The reality is because of the size of our stadium, we do have more tickets to sell. But the other reality is, at the end of the day, if we continue pace with where we are, which I think we will, we're going to sell more tickets to our Wild Card playoff game than any other playoff game played this season – Division, Championship round – that's a testament to our fan base. And we're excited about that and that's what makes it a little bit special."
Q: Any team, any round?
DONOVAN: "Yeah, think about the capacity of those stadiums. Think about how many tickets we have, think about how big Arrowhead is and that goes back to a testament to our fans."
Q: You expect the building to be full?
DONOVAN: "Yeah, it's going to be exciting. It's going to be really exciting. Coach likes to talk about the ground shaking at Arrowhead. Every game matters, every play matters, and with the playoffs that ratchets up a little bit more. Every play does matter. One thing I would urge our fans is they're going to come out, it's going to beautiful on Saturday. The 3:35 p.m. start gives us plenty of time to tailgate, like we do better than anybody in the world. Let's get into your seats early for a lot of reasons. One, we've got the full (field-size) American flag. Two, we've got the B-2 bomber going over. There's nothing better in my mind in sports than that moment. And three, we really want the ground shaking at kickoff. That's part of the Arrowhead advantage, that's part of what makes this place special. And I know our fans, I hear this from our fans, there's a lot of pride in this marketplace when we're on a national stage. For our fans to show the world what makes Arrowhead special, we have a great opportunity to do that. Maybe just take 15 more minutes than you're used to to get in a little earlier. Get in your seats. We've got some really cool (towels) that we're going to give out that we announced earlier today, 'Fear Nothing, Attack Everything.' Our friends from Hy-Vee have been very supportive of our playoff run and they printed 70,000 of these (towels). We're doing it in a truly Arrowhead way, half will be white, half will be red. I think the visual is going to be amazing on ESPN/ABC and it's going to be a visual that really launches to the world."
Q: Were there other suitors for training camp?
DONOVAN: "Yeah we hear from schools, we hear from venues. As I've said before, we look at what other teams are doing and more and more teams are moving home, practicing in their training facility. And there's some advantages to that. We love Missouri Western. We love the town. We love the people. We love the school. We love the structure that we have up there. As you guys know dealing with coach, we love the consistency, that's a big plus. So we're excited to get back."