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Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt Quotes October 31, 2023 - FlagSpin

Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt Quotes October 31, 2023

OPENING STATEMENT: “Thank you for joining us this morning. This is an exciting, historic week for the Chiefs franchise as we prepare to play our first regular season game in Germany this Sunday against the Dolphins in Frankfurt. We are really looking forward to the trip and the chance to showcase the best of Chiefs Kingdom on the global stage. Sunday’s game in Frankfurt is a culmination of several years of work by a great team of people and it’s also a testament to our commitment to expanding the Chiefs Kingdom around the world. This game also provides us with another opportunity to bring global attention to Kansas City, which is something we are really proud of. With that I will open up to questions.”

Q: Looking back, was the trade sending Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins worth it?

HUNT: “I think that was a trade that worked out well for both parties. Obviously, (Dolphins WR) Tyreek (Hill) is an incredible player and has done very well in his time with the Dolphins. I also think it benefited the Chiefs, the draft compensation that we received, a lot of that draft capital was used to improve our defense and I think this year we are seeing that it did indeed work out well. We have a number of really talented young defensive players, many of whom were part of that trade.”

Q: How confident are you that the passing game will get going more in the second half of the season?

HUNT: “I think one of the things we talk about every year at these mid-season updates is the importance of the team improving through the course of the season. In recent years most of that improvement has been on the defensive side, where we’ve seen the defense around the middle of the season improve significantly through the playoffs. This year I think that story is much more on the receiver room. We have a young group of receivers and I think we have watched them grow each week. I know we obviously had a disappointing performance in Denver this past weekend, but it looks like to me those receivers are coming along. I know (Head Coach) Andy (Reid) and his coaching staff are very focused on that. I would expect them to play better as we head towards the playoffs.”

Q: What is the broader significance of playing the game in Germany this coming Sunday?

HUNT: “This is a very important initiative for the NFL and that really goes back to the ‘90s when the NFL was supporting NFL Europe. Germany was one of the best markets in terms of support for NFL Europe and I think that helped cultivate the fan base there. From a long-term perspective for the League, it’s important for the Chiefs to grow the brand on an international basis. There are only so many fans that can be had in North America. I think we are seeing it with other professional sports, both in the U.S. and in Europe, everybody is focused on growing their global fan base. It’s something that is much easier to do now because of social media, because of the digital delivery of games. It’s only something I think you’ll see grow, not only for the Chiefs and the National Football League, but for the other sports in the U.S. as well.”

Q: Did you go on the trip when the Chiefs played in Germany during the 1990 preseason? What do you know about the significance of that trip?

HUNT: “I know you’re referring to the preseason games that the NFL staged, mostly in the ‘90s. The Chiefs played twice in Tokyo, once in Mexico and then once in Berlin in 1990. I did go on that trip. Of course, the takeaway form that trip that no one will ever forget is the (Berlin) Wall coming down. Just what a huge moment that was in global and European history. For the Chiefs to be there playing an American football game was very special. That was during (Chiefs RB) Christian Okoye’s heyday. I’ve heard that Christian is going to be in Frankfurt this weekend, we’re glad to have him there helping represent the Chiefs.”

Q: On the process of getting international marketing rights in Germany vs. when the team played in London in 2015.

HUNT: “You’re exactly right, a big difference between now and 2015 is that the NFL has allowed the franchises to bid on, and market, in certain markets around the world. The Chiefs have the rights to Germany, Austria and Switzerland in addition to Mexico. When we went to London in 2015, that was a great opportunity to bring the (Chiefs) Kingdom to the United Kingdom. It was a home game, one of the things I remember from the game is how being in Wembley Stadium felt a little like being at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Which I was amazed by that, it was really red, the fans for the most part were wearing red. This of course is also a home game for us in Frankfurt, we will be utilizing our gameday production, so I expect it to have a similar feel on game day. The big difference is the fact that we have been in the market for a year and a half marketing. We have sponsors, we have done a number of activations, we’ll have the ChampionShip available to fans throughout the week as a way to introduce them to what it means to be a Chiefs fan. It’s a much more comprehensive and broad approach than we had in 2015.”

Q: What is the final vision for Germany going into the future?

HUNT: “I think the vision in the short to intermediate term is growing our fanbase in Germany, that’s something that we have done. If you look at any of the metrics that the League follows, whether it’s social media, merchandise sales, etc., we are right at the top of NFL teams in that regard. We’ll just want to continue growing that, we’re hopeful the new fans we attract will want to watch the Chiefs and the NFL on a weekly basis. From a long-term standpoint, I don’t know where this possibly goes. Some have talked about the NFL having franchises based in Europe, I don’t know that we’ll ever get there. I do know the game is growing in Germany and our presence there and the other NFL teams who are marketing in the region are going to do nothing but accelerate that.”

Q: Since you are the team giving up a home game did you get any say in who the opponent was?

HUNT: “The home team does have a say in who they play overseas. It’s really more of an opportunity to block certain games, then the League takes it from there. Something that has worked against the Chiefs playing overseas in recent years has been that teams always block us; they want to keep the Chiefs as a home opponent in the States. That’s one of the reasons we haven’t gone as a visiting team in recent years. That’s how the mechanism worked. I think it’s really exciting for the NFL that we ended up with this great match-up between two of the best teams, two of the teams at the top of the AFC.”

Q: Will the gameday experience be fairly generic, or will it feel more like a normal home game presentation wise?

HUNT: “I mentioned earlier that we will be using our gameday production so the music, the celebrations will be very similar to it being a home game. I’m obviously hopeful that most of the fans will be wearing red. We’ll have KC Wolf there, our cheerleaders, etc. That part of it should feel very similar. Obviously, when you’re in a new stadium like we’ll be it’s hard to know exactly what the atmosphere is going to be like. I mentioned how I was personally surprised by the atmosphere at Wembley (Stadium) a few years ago.”

Q: What is the role of the Chiefs in expanding the NFL’s presence globally considering the stars you have on your team?

HUNT: “It’s certainly facilitates growing your brand, not only on a local or domestic basis, but when you have the face of the League in Patrick (Mahomes), and you mentioned Travis (Kelce) who certainly has an incredible brand, that makes it a lot easier. I think that’s one of the things the League realized when they put the local marketing program in place to allow teams to market internationally is that it is hard for the League to do that marketing without the assistance of the teams and the players. The teams really have the opportunity to showcase the players. Obviously, the best way to do that is to play a game in the market like we will be doing this weekend. That really facilitates it. Patrick – one of his key sponsors, Adidas, is based in Germany, so that’s another great tie that I’m sure Adidas will be using in their marketing – the fact that they have one of their global starts coming to play in Frankfurt.”

Q: On flag football being part of the Olympics in Los Angeles and if NFL players should be on Olympic flag football rosters.

HUNT: “You’re right that flag football is a great way to grow the sport internationally. It’s low cost, relatively easy to learn, it’s safe and can be played in small-sided games. The League has really leaned in, in terms of growing flag football both in the United States and internationally. While I’m in Frankfurt I’m actually going to attend a youth flag football game, that’s one of the things I’m going to be doing there. That’s also something the Chiefs are supporting in Germany, the growth of flag football. I was really excited when I heard the news of flag football being approved for the Los Angeles Olympic games that are coming up. I think that will really help mainstream the sport. I think we have seen that with the Olympics over time, (there are) a lot of sports that may be secondary in nature for the American audience (that) you really dial in and pay attention to them during the Olympics. I only think it is natural that the NFL is going to have a lot of players that will want to play in that tournament. It will be a very interesting question for a lot of general managers and head coaches as to whether they are going to allow that to happen. I wouldn’t be surprised that we might have some players that are interested in doing it.”

Q: Can you tell us anything about the games you blocked from going to Germany this year?

HUNT: “I think I’m going to stay away from that. One of the great benefits we have had in recent years is that all of our games sell out. So, it was not a big consideration for us. I think some teams are trying to make sure they keep games they know they can sell out at home. That was not really an issue for us.”

Q: Where are you on planning for the future with the stadium? Has anything changed?

HUNT: “It really hasn’t. Our priority continues to be trying to figure out a way to renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium and extend its life. We’ve been in communication with the Royals, we’ve been waiting for them to make a decision as to whether they are going to stay in Jackson County or whether they are going to go to Clay County. Once they make a decision, that will help us with our process as we move forward. Our thinking has not changed, I’m sorry to say we have not made a lot of progress since the start of the season, but it is something we are focused on.”

Q: There has been some reporting that the Royals are looking for a longer lease than you would like. Where does that stand?

HUNT: “I have heard that the Royals are focused on a longer lease. I think that makes sense, particularly if they are in a new building. For us if we go the renovation route, we really think the shorter lease is more appropriate – GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium is 51 plus years old at this point already and we would be talking about a lease that would not start until five or six years from now. So, 25 (years) we think would be a better fit for us. If the Royals decide to stay in Jackson County that is going to be an issue we have to resolve, we have to figure out how to make that work for both teams.”

Q: What is the end game for the NFL internationally?

HUNT: “I don’t know what the ultimate destination is going to be. I do think that the League will continue to expand the series. We’ve had games in Mexico, the UK, Germany. I’m on the International Committee and I know the League is actively looking at other markets in Europe as well as South America and Asia to stage games. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next five or so years we saw more games played and also different geographic locations than where the League has been before.”

Q: There have been a lot of events that have featured Kansas City on the national and global stage recently like the NFL Draft and that are also planned like the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Why is showcasing Kansas City so important to you?

HUNT: “We really have a special opportunity during this time period in Chiefs football to not only grow the Chiefs brand, but also grow recognition of the city of Kansas City. You left out those Super Bowl parades which have been pretty special as well. But you’re exactly right – the combination of the Super Bowl parades, the Draft, the Chiefs playing in Frankfurt and the World Cup coming in two and a half years – all of that puts a lot of eyeballs on Kansas City and indirectly is really positive for the economy. One of the things that we have talked about in the context of the World Cup is that we really need to showcase that Kansas City is a great place to live, work and play and I think we’ll have that opportunity. In some ways going to Germany this weekend is sort of full circle for me because my first introduction to Germany came in 1974 attending World Cup games in West Germany. I did go to Frankfurt on that trip and saw West Germany play Poland in what I think was a quarterfinal game. That’s something that’s in the back of my mind and I know when fans come to Kansas City in 2026, they are going to have the same kind of experience and hopefully want to come back as a result.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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