Disclaimer: It’s already cool to support the Chiefs. It’s just that many people around the world doesn’t realise it just yet.
The international market is a tough cookie to crack, especially for a team from middle America. No direct flights from Europe and the perception of being redneck country means that a lot of Europeans do not understand what Kansas City is all about. You know, and we know that people are missing out on one of the greatest cities in America.
That being said Green Bay, Wisconsin isn’t exactly a tourist hotspot for British jetsetters neither, but they easily rank in the top 10 of most supported teams in the United Kingdom.
So why do the Packers have such a strong international fan base but the Chiefs don’t?
2 words; success and quarterback.
Before I go into these two I can imagine a lot of Packers fans here in the UK are already chomping at the bit to point out the Packers history as a contributing factor. Whilst I am willing to admit that this may be the deciding reason for a small percentage of fans, I can comfortably say that the fan ownership of the Packers, or Super Bowl I are not the main reasons behind Green Bay’s vast foreign support.
Of course there are social and cultural factors too. A fan may have a family member from a particular city, or there may have been a particular team or city mentioned on a TV show. I in fact know a Detroit fan that picked the Lions purely because of the show ‘Home Improvement’. More examples of why someone may choose a team, but not nearly as common as team success or quarterback play.
Most but not all new fans are drawn to successful teams. More often than not the UK fan would have started their love affair with the NFL during the playoffs or whilst watching the Super Bowl. The teams that are in the playoffs are the ones that do hit the news in the UK, these are the teams that people talk about in the forums and on social media, these are the teams who will have plenty of merchandise available to the international fan. It is this success that boosts the international fan base. It might not account for the whole of the reason for choosing a team, but the extra exposure success brings certainly helps.
Another big reason for the Packers huge fan base will of course be the quarterback situation. For the best part of 25 years the Packers fans have been fortunate to witness some excellent quarterback play from both Favre and Rodgers. Being the most important and glamorous position on the field, new fans are more likely to look at the Quarterback position when deciding their team. An entertaining gunslinger in Favre or the raw talent of Rodgers would of course be a draw for most. More so than the likes of Matt Cassel or Damon Huard.
So how will Mahomes make the Chiefs cool(er)?
Well the Chiefs now have their very own talented gunslinger in the form of Patrick Mahomes. In the short snippets we have seen Mahomes at work, the former Red Raider has been nothing short of sensational, as well as erratic. His style will undoubtedly be a draw for a new NFL fan. As I alluded to earlier the quarterback accounts for so much for when a UK fan is choosing a team, and Mahomes may just be a deciding factor.
It’s safe to say that the Chiefs Kingdom, the NFL media and the Chiefs organisation have hardly thrown caution to the wind when highlighting Mahomes’ potential. Many believe Kansas City have a potential superstar on their hands. A marketing dream.
Great quarterback play will often lead to a success, it’s the way the league is set up. Few teams can progress without a confident and quality player under centre. The law of averages proves that finding a quality starter will lead to some postseason wins. How many great Quarterbacks can you name that haven’t had postseason success? It is this excitement and potential that will draw new fans to the Chiefs from all over the world.
Trust me when I say that thanks to Mahomes, the Chiefs Kingdom is about to become a whole lot bigger.