Missouri Minute: KC businesses brace for rush after Chiefs win; Parson eyes gambling laws

Good morning, MBA readers,

A city awash in red and perfumed with the faint scent of fireworks erupted into a celebration a half-century in the making on Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs captured their first Super Bowl title since 1970.

At the helm of the triumphant run was quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was named Most Valuable Player of Sunday’s game and has only begun to tap into the value of his on-field wizardry and off-field marketability. The hype around the quarterback was so high that in the run-up to the big game, Mahomes officially surpassed the Patriots’ Tom Brady in NFL merchandise sales. His Mahomes Magic Crunch cereal sold 300,000 boxes after a limited release, shattering Hy-Vee’s expected sale of 50,000. And with contract negotiations on the horizon, Mahomes is widely expected to set a new NFL record by commanding as much as $200 million over five years.

But Mahomes and the Chiefs won’t be alone in celebrating Sunday’s win — or reaping its economic benefits. Kansas City officials said attendance for this week’s parade could surpass that of the Royals’ World Series celebration in 2015, and downtown businesses are bracing for the red-clad throng. On Sunday night, lines of patrons spilled onto sidewalks outside of bars and sporting goods stores alike as fans sought to celebrate the win with spending. Even Anheuser-Busch InBev got in on the revelry, unveiling commemorative bottles to toast the champions.

Scroll down for more on the business implications of Kansas City’s Super Bowl win and other news from around the state.


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Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade could be bigger than Royals’ 2015 celebration
Officials say Wednesday’s parade celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl win may draw even bigger crowds than the Royals’ 2015 World Series celebration, which some estimates put at 800,000 people. Downtown businesses and organizations say officials gave them a heads-up before Sunday’s game. (KCUR)

Parson calls for clarity on gambling laws
Gov. Mike Parson has called on state lawmakers to provide clear rules and guidelines for legally dubious gambling devices that have taken root at businesses across Missouri. Currently, House and Senate bills proposing regulation for the machines are at odds. (Missourinet)

Judge again rejects Missouri public-sector union law
St. Louis County Judge Joseph Walsh has declared a majority of the so-called “paycheck protection bill” unconstitutional, making the law unenforceable. Signed in 2018 by then-Gov. Eric Greitens, the law sought to limit public-sector union dues and require the unions to hold elections every three years on their continued existence. Walsh, who previously blocked the bill in March 2019, noted that collective bargaining rights are enshrined in the Missouri constitution. (Springfield News-Leader)

Two studies estimate net savings from potential Medicaid expansion
The Missouri Budget Project, a fiscally oriented think tank, estimates that Medicaid expansion would generate $100 million in annual savings for the state by fiscal year 2024. A second study commissioned by the Missouri Hospital Association argues that cost savings are contingent on careful planning and a higher federal funding match. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hallmark restructures core business amid shift to digital
The 110-year-old Kansas City company is combining its card operations with its retail business as traditional Hallmark cards and stores face steady decline. Hallmark hopes the shift will free up resources to bolster its online sales. U.S. sales of printed greeting cards fell nearly 14% over the last five years to $4.5 billion in 2019. (Wall Street Journal)

Bayer reportedly mulling new tactic to limit the number of Roundup plaintiffs
A source familiar with the matter says Bayer is considering a proposal that would bar lawyers involved in Roundup litigation from advertising for new clients. In the past, the German pharmaceutical blamed TV ad campaigns for a surge in U.S. plaintiffs seeking compensation for alleged damages from the Monsanto-made Roundup weedkiller. (Reuters)

Adobe alum takes helm at one of St. Louis’ largest private companies
Ansira Partners, a St. Louis-based marketing technology and services firm, has named former Adobe executive Jay Dettling as its new CEO. Dettling, who served as vice president of global partners at Adobe, succeeds Laurie MacLaren, who will remain as COO and CFO of Ansira. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC group renews call for downtown baseball
The Downtown Council of Kansas City held its annual luncheon Thursday, featuring a keynote speech that called on the Kansas City Royals to relocate their stadium downtown. Paul Goldberger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic, gave the keynote in which he argued that moving baseball to urban centers creates a symbiotic economic relationship between the city center and stadium. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Chesterfield company acquires KC-area financial firm, plans new hires
Synergy Wealth Solutions, one of the largest trust and insurance firms in the St. Louis region, has acquired Overland Park, Kansas-based HighPointe Financial Group. Synergy expects to add 20 to 25 new jobs in the Kansas City area in the next year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

UM System health initiative to add new centers across Missouri campuses
The University of Missouri System will add new specialized centers at its campuses in Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis under the NextGen Precision Health Initiative umbrella. (Columbia Missourian)

Nurses at KC psychiatric facility vote to join union
About 70 registered nurses at Research Psychiatric Center will be represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United after a vote on Thursday and Friday. The 100-bed facility in Kansas City provides behavioral health services and is part of HCA Midwest Health. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Lender seeks foreclosure of St. Louis Railway Exchange Building
New York-based Gamma Real Estate Capital has asked a court to foreclose the vacant Railway Exchange Building, alleging that its owner, HH St. Louis Railway, owes it more than $18 million. (St. Louis Business Journal)

MU Health Care ranks among top US hospitals
The American College of Surgeons has placed MU Health Care in the top 10% of U.S. hospitals in a new ranking. MU Health was one of 56 hospitals nationwide and the only Missouri hospital to be recognized for both high-risk and routine surgical cases. (Columbia Missourian)

Census officials look to recruit college students
The U.S. Census Bureau held a job fair at the University of Missouri Friday morning to recruit students for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. (Columbia Missourian)

Former Missouri business owner pleads guilty to fraud schemes
Russell Grundy, who owned multiple technology companies in Aurora, admitted to two counts of wire fraud, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of money laundering. Prosecutors say Grundy defrauded agricultural giant Land O’Lakes and its subsidiary Nutra Blend. (Springfield Business Journal)


Say that again

“Designers here are a little bit trapped. What Terri has is the missing piece: the workforce.”

That’s Andrea Roberts, owner of St. Charles-based athletic brand Triflare, explaining why she hopes to move a third of her clothing production to a St. Louis nonprofit by next year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Founded by Terri Stipanovich of Clayton, Collective Thread started out as a free sewing class for immigrant women. Over time, Stipanovich saw a need for small-batch manufacturing in the industry and began hiring her most promising students to handle contracts for swimsuits and leggings. Today, Collective Thread works with companies like Triflare for industrial sewing, alteration, tailoring, and shipping and receiving. Its sewers start at about $10 an hour and earn more as they master more skills. The goal is to employ 20 sewers by the end of the year and become self-sufficient within two years.


Go figure

$200 million

That’s how much Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could earn if he signs a highly anticipated extension with the team, Fox Business reports. Mahomes, whose current contract expires after the 2021 season, earned $2.7 million in 2019 as part of his rookie contract. Analysts expect the Chiefs to offer the Super Bowl MVP between $160 million and $200 million for a five-year contract — an annual salary of roughly $40 million and $130 million in guaranteed money. If offered such a contract, the 24-year-old would become the highest-paid player in NFL history. The current record is held by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who signed a four-year, $140 million extension last fall with a $35 million annual salary and $107 million in guaranteed money.


Send tweet

That’s the Bud Light Twitter account — renamed Bud Light Seltzer ahead of its Super Bowl LIV ad — congratulating the Kansas City Chiefs on their Super Bowl victory with a new commemorative bottle to mark the occasion. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company behind Bud Light and Budweiser, waded in during commercial breaks of Sunday’s game with ads showing off two of its flagship brands. A Bud Light ad cast rapper Post Malone at a crossroads: To buy a Bud Light or the company’s new seltzer drink? (Spoiler alert: He buys both.) The other ad branded Budweiser as the quintessential American drink for “typical Americans.”


Hello, my name is

Labyrinth Technologies

This Hazelwood firm will soon be covering downtown St. Louis with its new “smart” street lights, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The project was conceived in 2016 when Labyrinth Technologies CEO Ted Stegeman heard Downtown STL put out a bounty for a new street light that could illuminate both streets and sidewalks with a color-changing element in the neck. Big lighting manufacturers deemed the task impossible, which only further intrigued Stegeman. He enlisted his son, John, who built a controller that allows the light to shine brighter and change colors at certain times. So far, Labyrinth has installed 250 of these lights and plans to have 2,500 up within 18 months. Downtown STL is raising $4.5 million to pay for the project. Labyrinth hopes to eventually connect other smart-city devices to the lights, such as digital message boards, weather sensors, surveillance cameras and guidance systems for self-driving cars. The company currently employs 40 people and may hire more if it wins contracts in other cities, Stegeman said.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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