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How Are Stadiums Cleaned After Games?

You Asked and We Grabbed a Mop

worker changing trash bag at children's mercy park in Kansas City, Kansas
Flatland visited Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, to hunt down the answer to a question posed by one our curious Kansas Citians. (Michelle Stoddart | Flatland)
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When baseball season ends this month, Kauffman Stadium will have hosted 83 Royals home games. That’s 83 days of hot dogs, popcorn and beer. And each night, someone has to clean it all up.

A reader asked curiousKC about that process: How do Kansas City’s professional sports venues get cleaned after games?

We couldn’t connect with our question-asker, but we investigated the cleaning process at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums anyway. We also grabbed our cameras and headed to Children’s Mercy Park after a Sporting Kansas City game to see for ourselves how that stadium transforms from sloppy to spotless.

Kauffman’s cleanup crew depends on the size of the crowd, said Toby Cook, vice president of publicity for the Royals. A well-attended game can require up to 150 people picking up trash immediately, while one with a smaller crowd can get by with about 80 cleaners.

An additional 50 to 75 people return to the stadium the next day to spray down the seats and concourses and clean the suites and food service areas, Cook said.

In 2017, the games generated more than 1,100 tons of waste, nearly a quarter of which was recycled, Cook said.

After a Chiefs game, Arrowhead Stadium has a team of 100 to 120 people that cleans inside the facility, said Luke Shanno, corporate communications manager. An additional 80 to 90 employees pick up trash in the parking lots, usually finishing by noon the following day.

The process is similar at Children’s Mercy Park, said Dan Lolli, vice president of operations for Sporting KC. A crew of employees and contracted workers stays late — often until 2 a.m. — to scrub the stadium, returning the next day to finish.

“Everyone cleans up. It’s kind of one of our mantras,” Lolli said. “It might not be everyone’s fault, but it is everyone’s problem.”

— Lindsay Huth, Michelle Stoddart and Meg Vatterott were multimedia reporting summer interns at Flatland.

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