Chiefs fans angry, forced to give up handicapped-accesible seats for new fan area

Posted at 12:56 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-12 12:24:02-04

From the top of his hat to the tip of his cane, John Wilson loves the Chiefs. Just one look at his basement covered in red and Chiefs memorabilia shows that. After several hip replacements and Rheumatoid arthritis, the season ticket holder said he and his wife had to move to section 123 and seats accessible for people with disabilities.

“So these were awesome,” he said. “The view was wonderful!”

David Kelley and his 88-year-old dad loved sitting in section 123 too. They make the trip for games all the way from Arkansas. “My dad and I drive 600 miles round trip for each game” he said. “My dad is 88, weak heart, horrible knees, he qualifies for handicap parking and other handicap services.”

But now they say they have to move to make way for ‘The Huddle,’ a new sponsored fan area.  Giving up their seats doesn’t sit well with them.

“I don’t understand this decision to take a handicap section, turn it into this and then say 'Well it is ADA compliant!'” said Kelley.

ADA is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal law that requires equal treatment for people with disabilities.

The Chiefs declined an interview but did confirm the new space impacted five season ticket holders in the ADA-compliant platform who were offered better seats at no extra charge and sent a signed jersey. While Wilson and Kelley both say they appreciate the jersey, they insist they weren’t offered better seats.

“No one ever talked to us about an upgrade, I would have listened to that,” Wilson said. “We're kind of brushed off and moved to the side.”

“The way it was done, the decision,” said Kelley about what upset him. He and Wilson said they passed on what they called comparable seats and instead took seats without the same view because it kept them close to their beloved tailgating crew.

“We’re first in, loving it, cooking, grilling,” said Kelley. “It is the fellowship, the friends, that’s part of it! And if we moved our parking, well, we’d lose a whole bunch of people.”

Kelley was concerned the new fan space meant fewer ADA-accessible single game ticket seats would be available at Arrowhead. We asked Chiefs officials who told us there are still the same number of seats and that they were spread out throughout other sections.

With the decisions already made, “What do I want now?” Kelley asked. “An acknowledgement? Maybe that it was a mistake?”