Kansas City, KS (July 9th, 2017)- Somber news broke early on Sunday morning that Sporting KC Co-Owner, Neal Patterson, had succumbed to cancer. Cerner Corporation, a health tech company based in Kansas City that Patterson was Co-Founder and CEO of, announced on Sunday.
Sporting KC Co-Owner, Neal Patterson, Passes Away
In 2006, it looked like the Kansas City Wizards franchise was dead, and on its way out. Neal Patterson and his business partner in Cliff Illig, became the main investors in the group named OnGoal LLC that eventually became “Sporting Club”, and bought the Wizards from Lamar Hunt.
Patterson and Illig both sat on the board of owners, and were extremely vital to helping turn around the club with their rebrand, and eventual opening of “Sporting Park.” Sporting KC President and CEO, Jake Reid said this of Patterson, “His commitment to the Kansas City Wizards in 2006 saved soccer in this city.”
#SportingKC president Jake Reid on Neal Patterson: "His commitment to the Kansas City Wizards in 2006 saved soccer in this city."
Patterson and Illig’s presence and clout within the ownership group has certainly helped Sporting KC turn some of their own projects into a testing ground for some of their health technology initiatives at Cerner.
In 2015, Children’s Mercy hospital system was brought into the fold when they joined up with “Sporting Club” in a partnership that lead them to renaming Sporting Park to it’s current Children’s Mercy Park. The stadium sponsor partnership was originally with LiveStrong, but since the fiasco surrounding Lance Armstrong, they declined to be associated with the mess.
One of the more recent partnerships between Cerner, Children’s Mercy, and Sporting Club/Sporting KC is within the new Coaching and Development Center being built just across the interstate from the stadium. Children’s Mercy is partnering with some of the gym and rehabilitation areas, as well as Cerner is providing plenty of the health technology for the facility.
The loss of a man who helped turn Sporting KC into what it is now, not only on the business side, but in the whole spectrum of U.S. Soccer will be greatly missed. Under his ownership and investment, it took less than 10 years for a floundering, small-market team to become a perennial power and a championship threat year in and year out.
Sporting KC, and the entire Kansas City area owe a deep level of gratitude for a man who has helped turn “The Heart of America” into the burgeoning city it is today.
Rest In Peace, Neal Patterson.