LAWRENCE, Kan. — While the University of Kansas Memorial Stadium is getting a makeover, the KU football team will play their home games at professional venues in 2024.
“Definitely worth it for sure like in the end, but it’s kind of a bummer,” KU graduate Josh Smith said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday in the city.
“I feel like there’s a lot of momentum right now and not being here in Lawrence or like at the Booth is hopefully not a killer, but potentially.”
Two games will be played inside Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park, and four others will be held in the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium.
“It has been a thrill to see construction begin in earnest in Lawrence on the Gateway District and David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium,” said Kansas Athletic Director, Travis Goff.
“This decision allows that construction to continue on a necessary timeline while also benefiting the overall budget of the project and the 2024 fan experience.”
The two opponents on the soccer pitch will be non-conference foes Lindenwood (Aug. 29) and UNLV (Sept. 14).
Children’s Mercy Park holds close to 19,000 fans, and with standing room only, it fits closer to 22,000 fans. Sporting Kansas City’s Vice President of Operations Josh Blackford says they’re going to maximize the amount of people they can get into their stadium safely.
“We’re going through those conversations now to figure out what that number is going to be,” Blackford said of the ultimate maximum attendance number.
“But, we have the best interest of KU Athletics and their student body, and their fans and their donors to ensure that we have a perfect atmosphere that’s not quite what they would have at home, but hopefully this is a home away from home that will meet those requirements and hopefully exceed them as well.”
All Jayhawks Big 12 home games will be played at Arrowhead.
Kansas will invite TCU (Sept. 28), Houston (Oct. 19), Iowa State (Nov. 9), and Colorado (Nov. 23) into the Super Bowl champion’s facilities.
Kansas last played inside Arrowhead in 2011 during the Border War against Missouri.
“I know the whole team is excited about having the opportunity to play in Kansas City this season,” said Kansas star running back, Devin Neal.
Season ticket renewals will go on sale Feb. 6. A full six-game season ticket package will cost $275. A package to see the four games in Arrowhead won’t go on sale until June 3 and single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.
“While we are disappointed we can’t play in Lawrence, ultimately, we want to create the best possible experience for all involved,” said Goff.
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The press release says Kansas plans to have transportation for students to all six transplanted home games.
Kansas officials say 2024 and 2025 graduation ceremonies will still be held inside David Booth Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks hope to begin the 2025 season back in Lawrence in their renovated venue.
Bars like Jefferson’s in the city won’t be able to cash in on the fans who come to their spots both before the home games on Saturdays and after them.
“There are going to be the dedicated people that will go to Kansas City to watch it,” Jefferson’s server Jesslon Wiggins said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday. “But I do feel like it’s going to hit us a lot harder since the games aren’t going to be home, and we’ll have a lot more traffic flow going through here specifically.”
Other businesses like the Lawrence Beer Company benefit tremendously from football Saturdays, too.
“I think the word has spread around the Big 12,” Lawrence Beer Co. President & Co-Founder Matt Williams said about his crowds on football Saturdays. “We get a lot of visiting teams as well.”
This upcoming fall, he knows the vibe will be different, but he’s glad things should be back to normal in the fall of 2025.