KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Typically, Kauffman Stadium' s not exactly an exciting place to be in the month of January. It’s cold outside, and Opening Day is more than two months away.
But in January 2019, Kauffman Stadium was the center of attention on social media for a reason having nothing to do with baseball.
Video from SkyTracker went viral on Tuesday, January 8th, because the chopper’s camera caught a video game (Mario Kart, to be specific) being played on Crown Vision, the giant video board at the Kansas City Royals home stadium.
On the 41 Action News Twitter post that day, Worlds of Fun replied, "Officially jealous."
Officially jealous— Worlds of Fun (@worldsoffun) January 9, 2019
Another viewer replied, "I don't even play video games, and this looks like a hoot!"
I don't even play video games, and this looks like a hoot!— Shannon Cardaronella (@CurlyCajunLass) January 9, 2019
“We're all in a group text saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Sports Illustrated picked this up,’” said Megan Rowe, community relations manager for the Royals.
Rowe had the idea as part of a charity event for Royals employees. More than 50 people contributed part of their paycheck for a chance to run a Mario Kart time trial on the big screen at the stadium.
“The top 12 times made it into the bracket,” Rowe said. “It was cutthroat.”
But only one of those employees had his gaming skills showcased around the world.
Anthony Meier's first time playing Mario Kart on a Nintendo Switch, during the preliminary rounds of the employee tournament, was the moment captured by SkyTracker.
“I had buddies from Pittsburgh that are like, ‘Dude, are you playing on the scoreboard there?’” Meier said.
Meier is the digital and social media mManager for the Royals. He’s also a big gamer, and ended up winning the tournament. He posted a photo of himself with the final bracket on Instagram. He'd only been working for the Royals for a couple of months.
“I have like the bracket at my desk, like hanging up on the wall,” Meier said. “I didn't realize that this was like the first time that this happened in the stadium.”
And it won't be the last time either.
“There were so many people that were saying, ‘I'd pay anything to do that, or that's been a dream of mine,’” Meier said. “We've got a few different Royals Charities events that it could be featured in, so we'll see how that progresses through the season.”
The team is planning to auction off the chance to play a family-friendly video game on Crown Vision, something fans of any age would love.
Your first opportunity to bid on that experience is expected to happen in May 2019.