Figure 1 Royals fans are still waiting for another good season
When it comes to states, Missouri would probably not be at the top of many lists for sporting achievement. New York and California are probably two that immediately spring to mind, with places like Texas also getting an honorable mention. But that is not to say that smaller states like Missouri don’t have a thriving sports scene.
There are a number of bills related to sports betting in Missouri that are waiting to go through the legislative process. But while the residents wait for the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are, we thought we would take a look at the state of pro sports in Missouri – and how it rates up against the rest of the country.
The state of Missouri is bookended by Kansas City in the west and St. Louis in the east – and those two cities are easily the biggest in the Show Me State. Let’s start with the major league sports teams in Kansas City.
The NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs is probably the most high profile team in Missouri, thanks mainly to recent exploits and the talent of Patrick Mahomes. One of a group of exciting young quarterbacks to emerge in the league in the last few years, Mahomes led the Chiefs to only their second-ever Super Bowl triumph in 2019.
At the time it seemed as though that Super Bowl LIV win could be the start of something. Mahomes had set the NFL alight and even though Kansas City had waited 50 years between Super Bowls, it felt like there would be plenty more coming up. That hasn’t quite been the case but the Chiefs are now regarded as one of the best teams in the AFC and are one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl this season again.
The Chiefs may be thought of as the biggest team in the city but Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals also has two national championships to look back on. But the team’s success has been limited to brief periods of time. Firstly between 1976 and 1985 (when they won their first World Series) and then again for a couple of years around the second Fall Classic triumph of 2015.
Apart from those two periods, the Royals have actually consistently been one of the worst teams in the league. In fact, for the 36 years between the two World Series wins, the Royals failed to make the playoffs at all apart from 2014 when it lost in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants. It seems like it is all or nothing for Royals fans.
We should probably mention Sporting Kansas City here as well. Although the Major League Soccer team does have a front office in Missouri, it now plays its home games at Children’s Mercy Park – which is actually located just over the state border in Kansas. The team has consistently challenged for honors and has won the MLS Cup on two occasions. But we’re not sure we can call this a Missouri team.
Figure 2 St. Louis has celebrated more sporting success in the past
Heading to the east of the state, we find the rest of Missouri’s major league sports teams. We should really start with baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals. One of the league’s oldest clubs, the Cards have won the World Series 11 times – that’s only bettered by the New York Yankees.
One of the most popular teams in MLB, the Cardinals actually lost the 1985 World Series to the Royals and there is always a good-natured rivalry between the two when they meet in interleague play. The last World Series was won in 2013 and, although postseason play is common for the Cards, it is been difficult for the team to get past the wild card game in recent seasons.
The other current major league sports team in St. Louis is the Blues of the NHL. Formed as one of the expansion teams in 1967, the Blues finally won their first Stanley Cup in 2019. But it is a franchise that consistently does well and actually has had more postseason appearances than any team in the NHL outside the Original Six. The playoffs have been a struggle for the Blues though, so that solitary triumph was all the sweeter.
St. Louis has also always been a hotbed of soccer in the US and 2023 will see the city get its first ever Major League Soccer team. The imaginatively named St. Louis City SC will play home games at a soccer-specific stadium in downtown St. Louis and compete in the Western Conference of the league.
So, that’s the teams of Missouri covered. But can we expect another champion soon? For anyone looking to put money on the outcome, the Chiefs would probably be the best bet. They are consistently one of the best teams in the NFL and Patrick Mahomes seems due another Super Bowl ring.
Expansion teams have a good history in the MLS too. So, it might be worth keeping an eye on St. Louis City in the next few years for a longer-term option.