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Clark Hunt Discusses the Chiefs London Game in 2015

Clark Hunt addresses the media about the Chiefs vs. Lions game in London in 2015

OPENING STATEMENT:"First off, let me apologize for not being able to be with you on Thursday to talk about it when the league announced it. We had less than 24 hours' notice on that and I was travelling at that time."

Q: Giving up a home game must have been tough. Many expected the Lions at Arrowhead and now it's at a neutral site.

HUNT:"Well, let me just say, there's never a good time to take a home game away from Arrowhead, but for a lot of reasons I felt like this was the right time to do it if we were going to do it. First of all, we've got a year where we're going to have a number of non-Chiefs events played at Arrowhead. We've announced one of the concerts already and we have more announcements coming. Secondly, we have a head coach who is very, very good on the road. His record both with us and with the Eagles is very strong on the road. That played into the decision with me from a competitive standpoint."

Q: How did this come about? Did the Chiefs volunteer for this, did the NFL request you to go to London or did the NFL force you to travel?

HUNT:"The league requested that we play the game over there. As you know, the series has been around for seven or so years. We'll be the tenth team to give up a home game. The league is in the process of encouraging more teams to do so. I would expect over time that that list will grow to a majority of the teams. As you know, we played three international games in London this year; we're playing three next year. I know through being involved as the Chairman of the International Committee that it is something that we're going to expand over the next five or six years and for that to happen, more teams have to play over there. The league passed some rules this fall that are designed to make that happen. The one that's been talked about and is known a little bit is if you want to bid for a Super Bowl, you have to be willing to play a game overseas. The winning team of the Super Bowl bid has to do that. That was a rule that was passed this fall and there were others like it that were discussed that were not passed, but I'm sure they'll be picked up in the future. And that sort of gets back to the point; I felt it was not a question of if we were going to end up playing a home game overseas; it was really a question of when. And for the reasons I mentioned earlier, I thought the time was right to do it now. I also liked the fact that by working with the league, we were able to get a game at that time of year against a non-conference opponent. We'll have the bye immediately after it. It's Week 8 next year so we'll have the bye in Week 9, which Andy (Reid) and I think, most head coaches in the NFL will tell you, is the most ideal time for the bye."

Q: Is that rule about the Super Bowl in place now or is it something expected for the future?

HUNT:"No, it's in place."

Q: So to get a Super Bowl you have to give up a home game?

HUNT:"Yes, that's the rule."

Q: It was fuzzy last week. It sounded like playing overseas wasn't related to the Super Bowl."

HUNT:"No, that rule is in place."

Q: But this does not mean Kansas City is first in line to get a Super Bowl?

HUNT:"No, I wouldn't look at it like that. I think Mark (Donovan), when he spoke to you guys on Thursday mentioned that really from a Kansas City standpoint, it's more about the weather. That's the first hurdle we're going to have to jump over. The league is going to have make a decision to take the Super Bowl back to a cold weather site."

Q: You talked about the league expanding the number of London games annually. Is this the commitment period next year or is there going to be another game somewhere down the line that the Chiefs will have to give up a home game?

HUNT:"I can't look too far in the future, but one of the things that factored into my thought process was by doing this next year, that takes care of the obligation in the short run. But I will say with the series expanding, I expect us to be a road team at some point in the next five or six years, which evens out the competitive issue and that was another one of the big considerations. First of all, taking a home game away from the fans and then secondly, the competitive issues. I mentioned Andy's record is pretty impressive on the road so I know we'll do well with him as our head coach, but I also like the thought of maybe one day two or three years down the line being the away team as well."

Q: As far a home game, you said this takes care of the commitment for the short term. Can you define the 'short term?'

HUNT:"Yeah, without being held to it, I would say the next four or five years."

Q: And when you say expand, you think there will be five or six games being played in London annually?

HUNT:"I don't know that it'll get to that number. I certainly think four is possible. It's a decision that is made each year. There are a lot of things that go into the decision; for example, next year Wembley (Stadium) is holding the World Cup of Rugby, so that was one of the reasons why there are just three games next year."

Q: Do you think the big-money teams like Dallas and New England that have resisted going to London to give up a home game will eventually give up a home game in the near future?

HUNT:"I would be reluctant to go market-by-market, but I'll tell you that there will be some of those teams playing games, particularly if they want to bid for a Super Bowl."

Q: As Chairman of the International Committee, did that play a factor where you had to demonstrate your willingness to go to London?

HUNT:"We've never hesitated to be a leader in the league – my family, the Chiefs organization. Probably where my role in the international committee came into play was through my knowledge of the direction that the league is heading and that it was inevitable that at some point we were going to have to give up a home game. And so given the circumstances I felt like next year was the right time to do it, get the obligation taken care of."

Q: Will the league compensate the Chiefs for the revenue that you will lose from not having a home game?

HUNT:"Yeah, they have a process where they try to make the team hold – if you will – on the economics. And I've heard that it's had mixed results for the teams that have been over. Some it's covered it, others it has not. The only thing that I think we can compare it to is they do the same thing when you're the away team on a playoff game and I know for a fact that they don't cover all your expenses. So I hope it does, but I don't know."

Q: So to fulfill that obligation you need to take a loss and be the home team?

HUNT:"Right. There are more teams that are willing to give up away games as opposed to homes games."

Q: Have there been talks of ways to compensate fans for losing a home game?

HUNT:"Yeah, we're in the early stages of talking about that. First of all, I'm hopeful that we'll have a lot of fans travel over there. The great thing about Chiefs fans is they love the team and today you'll see we have fans wherever we go. And I think a lot of them will go over and enjoy the experience. For the ones who can't do that, we definitely want to do something for them in Kansas City, perhaps at Arrowhead. We're working on that and we'll roll that out in the near future."

Q: In 2006, there was a resolution that started to roll the ball on this when Carl Peterson wanted to play over there while the renovations were going on. It was a 31-1 vote. Is that still the legislation that is carrying this through right now?

HUNT:"It is. It's what started the process and it's been amended several times, most recently with the requirement that if you are given a Super Bowl, you have to give up a game. So that is the beginning of the legislation. And we knew about it obviously at that time, which tied back into when we were negotiating the lease on the extension at Arrowhead and so we knew that this was going to happen at some time."

Q: Is there anything you guys can do to ease the sting for the fans? HUNT:"I alluded to it earlier, but let me just say directly, I understand why our fans are frustrated and frankly, I don't expect them to be happy about it. That's one of the great things about our fans is that they are so passionate and they want to spend their Sunday afternoons cheering the team on. We're going to talk about ideas about things that we can do for them to help compensate, but I can't give you anything directly right now."

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