Major League Match: UMKC and Kansas City Royals Announce Partnership

Includes hands-on learning opportunities for students; alumni and campus engagement
KC Royals and UMKC logos

The University of Missouri-Kansas City announced a three-year partnership with the Kansas City Royals, beginning in March 2024, built around student-success programs and additional opportunities for alumni, campus and community engagement.

With this partnership, UMKC is now a proud higher education partner of all four major professional sports teams in Kansas City: the Royals, Kansas City Current, Sporting KC and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“This Royals partnership is a grand slam, another great partnership to offer our students unparalleled opportunities for unique real-life learning experiences, mentorship and ways to connect to build their career network,” said Anne Hartung Spenner, vice chancellor for UMKC Strategic Marketing and Communications. “We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with the Royals for years, and we’re thrilled to make it official. Partnering with all four of our city’s major professional sports teams is a benefit to all at Kansas City’s top university and our community.”

The UMKC and Royals partnership celebrates the unique, authentic connection that already exists between the organizations, from hosting commencement ceremonies to UMKC Night at The K to the Sherman Scholars program at the Institute of Urban Education at the UMKC School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences.

“UMKC is an immense part of Kansas City’s history, and the Royals are honored that this partnership will allow for two pillars in the community to work together to better our future generations,” said Alex Schulte, vice president of corporate partnerships.

UMKC students wearing UMKC and Royals jerseys, holdingtheir hands in a Roo Up gesture

A few components of the new UMKC and Royals partnership:

  • “Bring Out the Bots” is a STEM initiative for high school students to create a robot to throw the first pitch at a Royals game. Students from the UMKC School of Science and Engineering will collaborate with the KC STEM Alliance and local middle school students to conceptualize and build a robot. When the robot is ready, the students will attend a game and witness the robot throwing the first pitch.
  • Media/film and communications students from the UMKC School of Humanities and Social Sciences will get a chance to collaborate with the Royals’ in-house creative agency, Pine Tar Collective, to make a 30-second ad for UMKC. The ad will premiere on CrownVision on April 19 for UMKC Night at The K. The video will then run during every homestand.
  • UMKC and the Royals will donate 50 tickets to a youth organization for a gameday experience at a Royals game.
  • The Kansas City Royals are adding a new segment to the Royals Radio Network to highlight players in the farm system. The “Future Royals” feature will air twice a month during games and include a shoutout to UMKC at the beginning and end of each feature.
KC Roo and Sluggerrr pose standing back-to-back in front of the CrownVision board at Kauffman Stadium

UMKC and the Royals share a history centered around campus support and celebration.

  • UMKC commencement ceremonies in May 2021 and 2022 took place in Kauffman Stadium.
  • The first UMKC Night at The K took place in 2023, with co-branded jerseys for fans and entertainment featuring the UMKC pep band and KC Roos Dance Team. The second one will be April 19 and will feature co-branded crewnecks for fans who buy theme tickets as well as UMKC entertainment and more.
  • The Sherman Family Foundation, founded by Royals CEO John Sherman and his wife, Marny, supports the Sherman Scholars program at the UMKC Institute for Urban Education. The program provides annual scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students in teacher prep programs; Sherman Scholars attend a Royals game together every year.
  • UMKC partners with the Kansas City Royals Foundation’s MLB Urban Youth Academy for the KC Roos Softball home field.
  • Royals owner, John Sherman received an honorary doctorate in 2013 from UMKC, and is a member of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management Executive Hall.
  • UMKC alumna Karen Daniel (M.S. ’81 accounting) was inducted in 2023 into the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame at UMKC. She is the first African American woman to be a Major League Baseball owner since her addition to the Kansas City Royals ownership group in 2020.

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