KANSAS CITY, KAN—It's billed as the next generation in soccer stadiums, offering the "ultimate" fan experience for soccer lovers, and it's just two days away from opening to the public.
On Thursday, Livestrong Sporting Park will open to the public with a nationally-televised match between Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire, and from plush locker rooms to a fan-friendly bar, everything in the stadium seems to have comfort and convenience in mind.
"I think we're going to have a lot of people come in Thursday night and really have their socks knocked off. It's an incredible place. Everybody here has a great view. We have the biggest HD video board in Major League Soccer here, great acoustics and free parking still, it's just a great set up," said Dave Borchardt of Sporting Kansas City.
The stadium's low-slung roof is designed to keep the noise inside, making for a loud and hopefully rowdy home-field advantage. Special Cisco wi-fi connections and cell phone towers for each carrier ensure that soccer fanatics here will always be plugged in to the world around them.
"We set out to try and envision what was the next MLS stadium, what was it all about. So we took all the best components of all the 80 stadiums we've done across the globe, and we tried to pick and choose and bring it to Kansas City," said Jon Knight of stadium architectural firm Populace.
One entire seating section can even disappear to make way for a full concert stage, so that Livestrong can also host outdoor performances such as the upcoming Farm Aid concert. Meanwhile, hungry fans can choose from bacon wrapped hot dogs, drunken pork sandwiches and KC strip steaks to set this place apart from other soccer stadiums.
"This is the absolute gem. This is the best, there's nothing like it. The attention to detail in this stadium, I have never seen anything like it. It's incredible," said Sporting Kansas City assistant coach Zoran Savic.