Excitement and anticipation filled Branson City Hall Monday morning.
A multi-year agreement has been signed and made official, and it could mean big things for the area’s tourism industry.
“We’re paying for the opportunity to be a partner with the Kansas City Chiefs,” Derek Smith, head of the Branson/Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District (TCED), the initial party in with the Chiefs.
“Our responsibility is to market the district which encompasses the Lakes area, Stone County, village of Indian Point, Branson and Taney County, not all of those counties, but a good portion of those,” Smith said.
The contract includes perks for the Branson area including roles in the team’s NFL draft events, signage at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, and involvement in a team program that honors community heroes.
Fans who were at the signing tell OzarksFirst this agreement could be the start of a new boom for the area’s economy, similar to what happened in the 1990s after Branson was featured on 60 Minutes.
“This is just like 1992. It really is, and I look for another explosion,” John Moore, owner of Cakes-N-Creams 50s Diner said. “Branson’s name is going to be out there worldwide, it’s going to completely just probably change our whole, I think, demographics, you know, as far as people coming on down.”
“We’re just so excited about kind of pushing out the great word of Branson and as a Chiefs fan, again, I couldn’t be happier,” Cindy Shook said.
Chiefs President Mark Donovan attended the signing and says the area and football team have similar values.
“[This area talks] about faith, family, flag and fun. We talk about faith, family, football,” Donovan said. “At the end of the day, even though we’re a worldwide brand now and one of the most successful organizations in all sports, we’re still a midwestern family run organization. When you match all those together, it feels like a very big opportunity for us.”
The Branson Board of Alderman passed an ordinance this summer, pledging $750,000 if a deal was made between the Chiefs and the TCED.
Smith says both groups gave that amount.
“We’re equal partners, 50/50. Now, [the city] did set aside some one-time money with how they have to do their budget, but we’re 50/50 partners on this deal. We’re spending the same amount,” Smith said.
Smith says early estimates suggest the area could see an economic boost of around $5 million.