The Chiefs’ training camp has now been at Missouri Western State University’s campus for 10 years. In those years, many aspects have changed and some have stayed the same.
When it was first decided that camp was coming to Western, the university’s administration had about a year to figure out the logistics and how they wanted the camp to look before the summer of 2010.
Brett Esley, Western associate athletic director, says they’ve had to add a lot in order to be a quality place for camp to take place.
The Griffon Indoor Sports Complex and grass practice fields were constructed before camp began. After a few years of camp, the renovation of the entire Spratt Stadium took place to create a better atmosphere.
“None of this was here before camp, which is unique to a lot of other training camps that take place on college campuses,” Esley said. “In most cases, the infrastructure was already there and the NFL team has to adapt to that.”
Another change to camp is the practice style. The Chiefs’ used to practice twice a day, giving more opportunities for fans to see the team. In 2011 the NFL collective bargaining agreement changed that, meaning teams could only practice once a day.
“In the first three years they would have night practices in Spratt Stadium, which is not the case anymore,” Esley said. “Those practices were always some of the highest attended.”
In the past it was common for NFL teams to train against another team during camp. This only happened once during the 10 years, when the Arizona Cardinals came and trained against the Chiefs for a practice.
One of the constants throughout the years, Esley said, is the stream of fans coming to camp.
“Year one has always been our record year in attendance with 66,000,” Esley said. “There were more chances for fans to come see the Chiefs in a practice setting in that year, that attendance was going to be hard to beat.”
However, with the Chiefs’ coming off of three AFC West Championships in a row and an MVP quarterback in Patrick Mahomes II, the attendance still remains high at camp today.
Esley says Western is fortunate to have had the Chiefs here for all 10 years and is thankful for how they’ve helped the campus evolve.