Five More Years In River Falls for the Chiefs

On Monday afternoon the University of Wisconsin-River Falls officially unveiled the new $2.4 million dollar wing of Knowles Arena. The grand opening of this new facility featured a ribbon cutting ceremony with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, Chiefs President and General Manager Carl Peterson, and various University administrators.

During this ceremony the Chiefs also announced that they've added two additional one year extensions to their current agreement with the university which will keep them in River Falls for five more years. Oddly enough the day was somewhat of backwards microcosm of the Chiefs relations with the state of Missouri.

It was very telling and interesting that Governor Doyle went out of his way to meet with the Chiefs on two occasions concerning the upgrades to Knowles Arena. The Governor knew that these upgrades were crucial in keeping the Chiefs in River Falls so he did his best to protect a resource that generates between $1 and $2 million dollars in economic impact for the state of Wisconsin.

In comparison back home, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt has met with the Chiefs only on one occasion to discuss the athletes and entertainers tax that ended up failing in Jefferson City. That is a scary proposition when you consider the state of Missouri is on the verge of losing a two sports franchises that collectively have an annual economic impact of $302 million dollars in the Kansas City area.

Jackson County and the state of Missouri might find themselves on the sidelines sooner than expected if they wait much longer to take a proactive approach to retaining the Chiefs. It's very clear the Chiefs organization is growing increasingly impatient with the lack of progress with the county and state to resolve the stadium issues at the Truman Sports Complex. That impatience will continue to compound the longer the Chiefs spend in Wisconsin using their new state of the art facilities in River Falls.

The complex is one to marvel at to say the least from the design, to the building, to the amenities; the renovation is one that fits the Chiefs needs perfectly for a summer training facility. The improved Knowles Arena is a sparkling example of the type of facility that caters to today's professional athlete. In fact, these amenities will likely spoil a great deal of the Chiefs players over the next four weeks.

Especially when you consider the fact it has superior showers, restrooms, training room, and laundry facilities, some players might grudgingly return to their normal environment at Arrowhead Stadium. In fact, during the Monday press conference, linebacker Shawn Barber stated "when you compare the facilities here with what we have in Kansas City, it almost makes you want to stay here."

For those players, coaches, and administrators who find it difficult to deal with their return to the bowels of an antiquated stadium, I would recommend they turn their attention towards Topeka. I am sure Governor Kathleen Sebelius would be more than happy to take a few notes from Governor Doyle. In fact, she might have already done so.

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