The state wants Royals fans to "Visit Mo."

Pay to Play 

The state wants Royals fans to "Visit Mo."

The state of Missouri finds all sorts of ways to take care of its millionaire pro-sports team owners.

In June, state officials approved $50 million in tax credits to help pay for the renovation of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums. That's on top of the $3 million the Truman Sports Complex already gets from the state every year for maintenance of the stadiums.

As if all that cash weren't enough, the state's Division of Tourism pays to advertise on Chiefs and Royals broadcasts.

In July, the state spent $14,337 to get out the "Visit Mo" message to people watching and listening to Royals games, according to figures from the Division of Tourism. Next month, the state will shell out $12,487 as the August sun beats down on the Men in Blue while they try to keep from falling 40 games behind the first-place team in their division.

Is selling Missouri to people who follow the Royals a little like exalting the joys of masturbation to a porn hound? We won't get into that. Instead, we note that the Division of Tourism also pays to advertise with another team whose fans may not be aware of all the fun things to do in the Show-Me State: the St. Louis Cardinals!

St. Louis is the more expensive media buy. A spreadsheet provided by the tourism folks indicates that the state will pay $53,480 to advertise with the Cardinals from July through the end of the season. The state will spend $37,911 on Royals games during that same time.

Of course, the Cardinals are searching for yet another division title, whereas the Royals are trying to avoid losing 100 games for the fourth time in five years.

Paying an extra 40 percent to be a part of the Redbird Nation sounds like a bargain.

Site Under Construction

New Yorkers take time out of their busy workdays to peep shots on the webcam poised over new construction at the World Trade Center site — only to find that there's been little progress in recent months. We wanted to see if there was a similar way to check out developments at our own hole in the ground, eventually to become the Sprint Center.

Well, ha ha, New Yorkers. We have a webcam, too, broadcasting an image of the concrete doughnut taking shape at 14th Street and Grand. The camera belongs to the city and is mounted atop City Hall, says Chris Thomas, head of corporate sales and services at the Sprint Center office at 11th Street and Walnut. He says the image bounces from the camera to the Sprint Center's server in Los Angeles and back to the corporate office for display on www.sprintcenter.com. The site proclaims, "Check the progress on the Sprint Center construction project in real time! The image automatically refreshes every 5 seconds." We expected to see strobelike images of cranes swinging and trucks zooming. Instead, cars on Interstate 70 showed up as specks on the highway rooted in place as the image flashed ... and flashed ... and flashed.

"It's been working," Thomas told us, but when he checked on his own computer, he had to concede that, yes, something was amiss. He told us he'd call the webmaster and City Hall, then call us back to report what the trouble was. Last we checked, the webcam was still updating on FEMA time. We're still waiting for his call.

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