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Serious investment and savvy marketing revive soccer in Kansas City

www.nytimes.com Published: July 30, 2013
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Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer has been rebranded and reborn, playing to capacity crowds at its new stadium.

There are, of course, no official records, but it is generally accepted that the introduction of the Zardmeister was the low point in Kansas City soccer history.



A high-strung gentleman with a memorably awful haircut, the Zardmeister roamed the paltry crowds at Arrowhead Stadium in 2003, ostensibly whipping his fellow Wizards fans into a froth. Since Tony Meola was the team’s goalkeeper, the Zardmeister shrieked, “Me Likey!” and then waited for fans to respond — presumably without choking — “Me-ola!” The Zardmeister also attempted to lead groups of fans in a clownish chant that went, “I’m a Zard, you’re a Zard, we all are Zards!”

“I actually heard him misspell Zard one time,” Mike Gaughan, a season-ticket holder since 1997 and a former president of the team’s supporters’ club, said recently. “It was a disaster.”

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