Go ahead, admit it. The post-season run by the Kansas City Royals caught your attention, and for the first time in years, you paid attention to the boys in blue, bought a team T-shirt and even tried to get tickets to the home American League Championship Series and World Series games.
If you’re like most fans, those tickets were too hard to get or were out of your price range, so you didn’t get to watch the game from Kauffman Stadium, often called The K. Now the 2015 season has started off promising, and you’re eager to get to Kansas City to show off your new Royals shirt as part of the home crowd.
It’s OK; the Royals are glad to have you back on the bandwagon.
“Our success last year on the field brought a whole new generation back to the Royals,” said Kevin Uhlich, Royals senior vice president of business operations.
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Because it might have been awhile since you’ve experienced The K, we’ve put together a primer on getting the most out of your visit to the ballpark.
This is the Kansas City Royals’ 43rd season at Kauffman Stadium, and going into the season, the team had hosted 74,345,705 fans there since 1973. The Royals completed a $250 million renovation to Kauffman Stadium before the 2009 season, so if it’s been that long since you’ve seen a game there, you have a lot to catch up on. They designed grander entrances, widened concourses, added restrooms and concessions stands and completely changed the outfield area.
The famous fountains are still there, but now there’s seating blended with the fountain area. There’s an Outfield Experience with amenities for all ages, making getting to the game early essential to take it all in and not miss the game. In 2008, the team added the 84-by-104-foot Crown Vision high-definition scoreboard, the largest in Major League Baseball. In 2012, Kauffman Stadium was the site of the MLB All-Star Game, so the venue got a little sprucing up then, too.
One of the great features of The K is that every seat has a decent view of the field, which means no matter your price point, you can enjoy the game. Fans wanting great views of the pitching match-up will want a seat behind the plate; the outfield is great for catching foul balls or home runs, and families will like being close to the kids zone, while others might like watching pitchers warming up in the bullpens or interaction with outfielders.
With all of the renovations, seating options have changed, too. Take a look at the views from various seating levels before buying tickets: www.seats3d.com/mlb/kansas_city_royals/.
At this time last year, it wasn’t uncommon to hear of fans going on third-party ticket seller StubHub and buying tickets behind home plate for half the price you could buy them directly from the Royals. Those deals are gone, as crowds through the first month of the season have set records and driven up demand.
Fans can buy seats directly from the Royals online at kansascity.royals.mlb.com, via telephone at 800-676-9257 or in person at the box office, or they can buy through third-party options such as Stubhub.com. The Royals have a feature called dynamic pricing that basically means the prices of tickets will shift with supply and demand.
If you’re on a budget and want to see a game, there are plenty of options. The Royals offer ticket discounts to members of the military, seniors and students and have a variety of special discount days that can be found on their ticketing website and by signing up for e-mail notifications.
Getting to the stadium
The K is one of the easiest stadiums to get in and out of, and there’s plenty of parking. Consult royals.com/parking to figure out the best way in and out of the stadium. Regular-season game parking is $12 for cars and motorcycles, $17 for oversized vehicles and $20 for RVs.
Royals HOF museum
You have to visit the Royals Hall of Fame museum at least once; it’s included in the cost of your game ticket and is open through the top of the eighth inning. The 7,000-square-foot museum in the left-field area opened in July 2009 and is much more than a plaque gallery of the 25 members of the Royals Hall of Fame. Visitors travel through a clubhouse lobby, a timeline wall covering the history of baseball in Kansas City, a dugout-style theater with a 15-minute film narrated by Buck O’Neil and a gallery full of interactive exhibits and memorabilia, such as the George Brett No. 5 display (representing the jersey number he wore) made of 3,154 baseballs, one for each of his career hits, along with the bat for his 3,000th hit.
The Outfield Experience
The Hall of Fame museum is part of the Outfield Experience, an area developed in 2009 to provide entertainment for all ages. Behind the Hall of Fame is a kids area with a miniature version of The K, a base run, batting and pitching cages, five holes of mini-golf and a Royals-themed carousel. You can pay for each activity or, on Family FunDay Sunday, you can buy an all-day pass for $10 per child. Every week there is a home game, the Royals host Family FunDay Sunday with pre-game entertainment on the Outfield Experience stage, face painters, caricature or balloon artists and a Royals autograph session. After the game, kids 14 or younger can run the bases for free.
Guests may bring food and water bottles into the stadium. Water must be in a plastic 1-liter or smaller sealed/unopened plastic bottle (one per person), and the food must be packaged in soft-sided containers that do not exceed 16-by-16-by-8 inches.
Every Friday, the concessions stands offer hotdogs and peanuts for $1 each. There are also eight weekday games remaining on the schedule that offer All You Can Eat Seats in the Loge Outfield level Sections 319-325. For example, on Aug. 13, you can buy a $45 ticket in Section 319 that includes all the hotdogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and soft drinks you want.
If you want more than standard ballpark fare, there are specialty concessions stands throughout the park and two restaurants. Among the specialty concessionaires: At the Boulevard Grill, you can watch as they hand-dip footlong corndogs and bread chicken fingers before deep-frying them; at Sweet Baby Ray’s, you can get sandwiches, burnt ends and ribs; and Belfonte’s in the outfield serves ice cream and fresh-baked cookies.
The restaurants include Rivals Sports Bar in right field and the new Craft & Draft on the Loge Level along the third-base line.
“Younger adult fans in particular have embraced the ballclub,” said Kevin Uhlich, senior vice president-business operations, “and Craft & Draft is a great setting for them to have an evening out with their friends and enjoy a ballgame. The new space is open air, with plenty of options for sitting and standing.”
Craft & Draft is open to all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue features more than 20 beers on tap and another 50 bottled beers, along with gastro pub fare including a quick-fire artisan pizzeria.
Rivals Sports Bar opens 1.5 hours prior to game time and has a full food and beverage menu with wait service. The restaurant, with open-air seating for up to 150, has a full bank of flat-screen HDTVs, including a 103-inch screen.
From a $17 legends tour to a $325 all-access tour that includes a Loge Level seat, fans can see as much of The K as they want. The tours must be booked in advance and typically run Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from April 7 to May 23; Tuesday through Saturday from May 26 to Aug. 29; and Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from Sept. 1 to 26. Check www.mlb.mlb.com/kc/ballpark/tours for tour descriptions.
Promotions at The K
Some fans pick a game to attend simply by a date that works, while others choose based on the opponent or whether there’s a promotion. Here are some key opponents and promotions this summer. A complete list can be found on the Royals’ website, kansascity.royals.mlb.com.
May 22-24: Royals versus the St. Louis Cardinals. May 24 is celebrating the 1985 World Series.
June 6: The Royals are giving away a set of four commemorative postseason bobbleheads this year, and on this day, the first 15,000 fans get the second in the series: Lorenzo Cain.
June 7: The first 3,500 Wildcat fans who bring their special K-State Day ticket ($11-$26) to the K-State table inside Gate B will receive a limited edition purple and gray KC Royals K-State ballcap.
June 19-21: The Boston Red Sox visit; fireworks after the game on Friday; and on Saturday, the first 15,000 fans get the third bobblehead in the collection: Mike Moustakas.
July 25: In the middle game of the series against the Houston Astros, the first 15,000 fans will get the final in the commemorative four-piece bobblehead collection: Yordano Ventura.
Aug. 7-16: The best home stand of the season has the White Sox, Tigers and Angels visiting. On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans get a replica jersey. On Sunday, the first 3,750 Jayhawk fans who bring their special KU Day ticket ($11-$26) to the table inside Gate B will receive a limited edition crimson and blue KC Royals KU ballcap.
Sept. 5: The first 2,000 Shocker fans who bring their special WSU Day ticket ($12-$34) to the table at Gate B will receive a limited edition black and gold KC Wichita State ballcap.