Yes they are 250+ miles away. Yes they are in the AFC, against the grain of our local NFC heritage. And yes, St. Louis fans are so frustrated right now with the NFL they might never emotionally invest in another football team.
However as teams start to maneuver to gain some type of foothold in the local market, the Chiefs seem to be the most likely of candidates to grab some meat from the carnage left by the Rams’ departure.
Here are 5 marketing strategies the Chiefs can use to start building a fan base in the ‘Lou and eventually become “Missouri’s team”.
1. Play a game or games in St. Louis. Start with a pre-season contest at the Jones Dome. Perhaps schedule a contest with Indianapolis or Chicago. Those two are also geographically within a few hours drive of our town.
Then try to get one actual regular season game per year scheduled here. It might take some high level maneuvering and hand-wringing on the part of Chiefs’ ownership but they can work it out. After all the NFL schedules regular season games in the U.K. and last I checked St. Louis is a lot closer than London. Eventually the rotation will provide a Chiefs’ home matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. That would be most entertaining to stage that game in St. Louis, wouldn’t it?
2. Start a community awareness program. Host clinics at St. Louis area boys clubs or other facilities. This can be done during the offseason. The Chiefs already have a St. Louis connection in Mizzou’s Jeremy Maclin. Plus they boast Chase Daniel, perhaps the best quarterback ever to play in Columbia. It should not be too difficult to get a few of these going. In addition to providing encouragement, instruction, and a fun day for area youth, it would generate a lot of positive media coverage and good exposure.
3. Generate more games on local St. Louis television and radio. The Chiefs should work with the NFL and the networks to get more exposure in the ‘Lou. Many of their games are already televised locally. As a playoff team in 2015, the Chiefs are likely to show-up on prime time games such as Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football and perhaps Sunday night. Most of the early/later afternoon Sunday contests will likely be televised. The team could also find a local radio station to carry all of their games.
4. Increase merchandise sales at area outlets. This could take a while and may not start to occur until the three prior strategies are put into action. But if the Chiefs start playing at the Dome on a regular basis you may start seeing a few more red and gold hats at area stores and a few more on the street.
5. Create special ticket packages for St. Louis fans. The Chiefs could create something of a “St. Louis Section” at Arrowhead. A creative travel agent could put together several packages with area hotels and restaurants as part of a football weekend. Perhaps charter a bus or two and provide transportation. Many locals already travel the 1 hour, 30 minutes plus it takes to get to Columbia to watch Mizzou. Why not drive another hour and 45 minutes and see an NFL game?