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Thursday, August 21, 2008
Big 12 links: Kansas City is a Big 12 mecca


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

And people thought it was known just for its jazz history and barbecue.  

Kansas City is undoubtedly the northern hub of the Big 12. It was always the center for the old Big Eight Conference and some of the locals still haven't forgotten the interlopers from Texas who pushed the Big 12's offices to Dallas when the conference opened.

But "The City of Fountains" is bigger than just a few fax machines and file cabinets. And it will be proved again today when Iowa State and Kansas State announce they are coming soon.

Multiple newspapers reported this morning that the Cyclones and Wildcats will move 2009 and 2010 games to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Sources told the Topeka Capital-Journal the two teamswill receive payments of at least $1.8 million per game. KSU nets about $1 million from a normal game in Manhattan, according to the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle.

Kansas City is on a roll attracting Big 12 events. Arrowhead Stadium will be the site for the Big 12 championship game on Dec. 6. The breathtaking new Sprint Center was the host for the Big 12's men's basketball championships in March and will be solidly in the rotation for future tournament events. And the venerable Municipal Auditorium, with its stately art-deco ambience, is the best arena around for the women's title.

It's surprising that more regular-season Big 12 games don't end up in facilities like Arrowhead Stadium. The Missouri-Kansas game last season was one of the most ballyhooed sports events I've ever seen and the atmosphere lived up to the hype.

That game was bigger than any Texas-Oklahoma game I had ever attended because it had significant championship ramifications penned solely on that game. Now if we could get those Kansas City engineers to figure out how to get traffic moving a little faster, the next time might be easier.

The Kansas City Chiefs' organization appears more than willing to shell out big guarantees for games that it feels will be successful. I'm surprised that Nebraska hasn't convinced an opponent to move a home game to Arrowhead for those kind of windfall profits after a successful game there in 1998 against Oklahoma State.

So don't be surprised to see more Big 12 events end up at "The Paris of the Plains" in the future.  

Just save a few extra cinnamon rolls for me at the legendary Stroud's Restaurant when you get there.

Until then, here are some tasty Big 12 links. They are almost as habit-forming and not nearly as gooey on your fingers.