While the Kansas City Chiefs run it back on the field — the impact of superstar tight end Travis Kelce continues to be felt through a new partnership with Make48.
Kelce’s ongoing work with Operation Breakthrough will see the non-profit realize it’s Ignition Lab later this year, but it won’t open its doors without some of the Super Bowl champion’s signature flair and a piece of Arrowhead Stadium on display inside, explained Tom Gray, founder and CEO of the Kansas City-based Make48 reality TV series.
Click here to read more about Kelce and his role in realizing Ignition Lab.
“A fan experience is going to be positioned in the maker space,” Gray said, detailing a planned section of the rehabilitated, vacant muffler shop that ultimately will house the Ignition Lab.
The centerpiece of the project: a set of former Arrowhead Stadium seats purchased by the reality show and donated to Operation Breakthrough to provide an interactive accent to the space made possible by the star Chiefs player.
A recently-filmed Make48 YouTube series — starring Jimmy DiResta, YouTube personality and reality TV star; and Nick Ward-Bopp, curator of Maker Village — brings the creation of the experience to life.
“It’s built on a really cool platform [that looks and feels like] a football field and on the other side will be a big screen TV,” Gray detailed, noting a subwoofer under the seats will create the in-stadium roar fans have come to know and love while special lighting features and other technology will turn the space into a full-on cheering section for kids who can’t make it out to the home of the Chiefs on game day.
“The kids can activate a button that will sort of be a celebration,” he continued. “It’s pretty unique.”
Keep reading to check out a teaser video for the Make48 episode.
Filming for the YouTube series episode culminated this weekend within the Maker Village community woodworking and metalworking shop in Midtown Kansas City. Operation Breakthrough representatives and students were on hand to participate in the project.
The episode is expected to be released online in three to six months, Gray said.
Kelce is expected to help cut the ribbon on the Ignition Lab space and open the fan experience sometime in September, he added.
Update: Check out the just-released “sizzle” video for the episode in DiResta’s Instagram post below.
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Not only does the star-studded build-out represent further progress for Operation Breakthrough and Kelce’s 87 and Running foundation, it signals continued momentum for Make48 and its Kansas City-born reality series and education engine.
“This was our final build in the YouTube series — a test we wanted to roll out during the pandemic,” Gray explained, noting ways Make48 has been impacted by the still-raging pandemic, which limited plans for widespread education events in 2020.
Success of the YouTube series is expected to result in a 10-city tour of community builds, held from June to December. Winners then return to the Make48 workshop to compete on the fifth season of the competition series, set to resume production in March 2022.
“That was always part of the plan, but COVID allowed us to activate it straight away — which has been really good for us,” Gray said. “We never slowed down; we just had to hold the fort for a minute.”
Production on Season 4 commenced at Union Station just days before a citywide COVID-19 shutdown was announced. Click here to learn more.
Gray and his team hope the cities set to participate in Make48’s upcoming community-builds will host annual events moving forward, taking the brand and its mission to elevate makers to an even higher level.
“The city series is obviously our biggest fish we’re frying right now, but we’re planning quite far ahead,” he said, teasing plans for potential college and university campus builds that could follow.