University partners with Sporting KC
Fireworks lit up the sky. University of Missouri-Kansas City logos filled the stands. Fans, clad in Sporting KC and UMKC gear, screamed, stomped and cheered Sporting on to a 1-0 victory over DC United.
It was UMKC Night at Sporting Park, and nearly 19,000 people were there to celebrate.
The game was the high point of a season-long partnership between UMKC and Sporting KC. The partnership has been a natural fit for both organizations. Sporting KC is a valued, positive force for Kansas City, just as UMKC has been for 80 years.
Sporting Park is regularly filled with UMKC alumni as well as current and prospective students. UMKC Night at Sporting Park was no exception. Busloads of students and countless alumni packed Sporting Park. They were just a portion of the spectators who enjoyed the more than 10,000 giveaway items the university provided.
But UMKC’s presence was about more than new tote bags and t-shirts. Admissions officers were on hand to field questions from perspective students and parents. Students talked about their own experiences at Kansas City’s university.
To top it off, there was even a UMKC presence on the field. Chancellor Leo Morton participated in the opening coin toss, and at halftime, four lucky students participated in an on-the-field contest.
For Khitam Jabr, a senior, the game was especially memorable. She was one of the students who dribbled and shot the ball for a chance at UMKC men’s basketball tickets. She didn’t win, but that was far from her mind as Jabr left the field. She was more focused on her good fortune – it was her first time at a Sporting KC game, and she’d just ventured where few fans are allowed to go – the thick, perfectly green field.
“This is so exciting. It’s neat to see UMKC at such a big sporting event,” Jabr shouted over the cheers of the crowd.
As she and the other students made their way off the field, senior Caleb Michael Files echoed Jabr’s excitement.
“The environment at Sporting Park is electric,” he said. “I love Sporting KC, so I was really excited about the partnership.”
Unlike Jabr, this was far from Files’ first time at Sporting Park. He has season tickets, and recently completed an internship at Sporting.
The high energy crowd was exactly what UMKC’s Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications was hoping to attract when it entered into the partnership.
“Sporting KC games draw a young, diverse, family-oriented audience, and that’s exactly where we’d like to boost our visibility. This pairing brings together a university on the rise with a team on the rise,” Anne Hartung Spenner, UMKC’s vice chancellor for strategic marketing and communications, said.