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Missouri Governor Announces Plan to Keep Royals and Chiefs in State

The continuing saga over the future homes of Kansas City’s two major sports teams took another turn yesterday when Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he expects the state to offer a plan keep both teams within Missouri’s borders once their stadium leases run out after 2030.

Gov. Parson’s statment followed the plan offered last week by the state of Kansas which would finance up to 70% of new stadiums for the Royals and Chiefs if they were to relocate there.

“We’re going to make sure that we put the best business deal we can on the line,” Parson said yesterday. He added, “Look, I can’t blame Kansas for trying. You know, if I was probably sitting there, I’d be doing the same thing. But at the end of the day, we’re going to be competitive.”

While they’ve played side-by-side for more than 50 years in Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums, the teams have been exploring new sites for the past several years. Sites in downtown Kansas City as well as across the border in Kansas have been proposed.

Royals owner John Sherman has said the team won’t play at Kauffman Stadium beyond the 2030 season, though he prefers to remain in the state and to build a new stadium downtown. With Kansas’ move to lure both teams with a sweetheart financing deal, the pressure on Missouri to keep both teams in the state has increased.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that back in April, Jackson County, Missouri, voters rejected a sales tax plan that would have helped fund a a multi-billion dollar downtown stadium (and “ballpark district”) for the Royals, as well as to assist the Chiefs in making $800 million in renovations to Arrowhead. Combined with Kansas’ recent proposal, that caused Governor Parson to go back to the drawing board to try to keep both teams in-state.

Neither team is going anywhere for the immediate future, but both teams (and their owners) are trying to use the threat of relocation to extract deals from government. Sound familiar?

This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that owners pit one site against another to extract the best possible deal for the teams (fans be damned). And while there is no indication both teams are working in concert, their interests do appear aligned here.

Sports clubs wanting new stadiums — and the hundreds of luxury suites that are the new normal — is nothing new. The trend these days is not just to build brand new stadiums, but also housing/dining/shopping and other developments surrounding the stadiums. Unfortunately, politicians — who must face voters — want to appear to do everything they can to “keep the team” in town, and that usually entails coming up with public funding to entice teams to stay. And while they tout the economic benefits such developments promise, more often than not those benefits don’t help those communities and their residents, at least not to the extent promised.

But at least for those who want to keep the Royals and Chiefs on the Missouri side, the state is making another effort to keep them from moving out of state. We probably won’t know what the new plan is until the end of the year. It might be hard to top Kansas’ largesse of 70% governmental funding, but for two teams with long and deep roots in Missouri, they may not need to match the offer. But they’ll probably need to come close.

[Big thanks to Paul for tipping me wise to this story!]

Comments (45)

    May not look beautiful, but given the choice between finding downtown parking and a large parking lot conducive to tailgating, I’ll take the large parking lot every time. Tailgater’s dream. Beats having to coordinate shuttles from satellite parking lots. But tailgating may not be your thing.

    Not a Philly guy, but their setup is perfect. All 3 major venues in same area. Large parking lot and commuter train accessible. Airport nearby.

    Yes Charlie, a downtown stadium surrounded by buildings with NO parking for fans.

    As a lifelong Bears and Cubs fan, seeing those stadiums with all that parking is like porn to me.

    Ain’t that the truth!!!! There is very little parking at Wrigley and Soldier Field.

    Oof, no. The ability to take mass transit to a sporting event is a gift. Be careful what you wish for because suburban stadiums next to major highways are beyond awful.

    Yeah, except for you can park at a train station for next to nothing and pay $5 for a train ticket as opposed to navigating all the staduim traffic and paying $50 to park.

    This x1000! I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to park at Wrigley. The red line drops off right there at the ballpark, and there are dozens of suburban Metra stations if you’re coming in from out of town.

    I’ve never heard a fan complain about Kauffman or Arrowhead stadium. In fact they are often highly ranked on stadium lists.
    Which is a testament to what these stadium hostage situations are really about, owners wanting someone to foot the bill so they can host more VIPs in fancy new high end seating, as opposed to the quality of the stadium experience to overwhelming majority of people who attend. All the bells and whistles they tout are kind of meaningless. What do fans care about?
    Good views of the game
    Plenty of concessions and bathrooms
    Easy access in and out of the stadium (either by car or mass transit)
    For all the fancy bells as whistles the Eagles got when they moved into their stadium 20 years ago, I really don’t think my gameday experience is really any better there than at Veterans Stadium.

    Exactly. (KC native, Chiefs season ticket holder here.) Both stadiums are great once you get inside of them. Their location leaves much to be desired. For the first time in 20 years, there is now a public transit bus that will take fans to Royals games. There is a route that can take you to a Chiefs game, but the stop is nearly 3/4 of a mile from Arrowhead, and you are dodging all the cars filing into that sea of asphalt on you way.

    The proposal that was rejected by Jackson County was terrible, IMO. The Royals wanted to tear down occupied buildings in a bustling (for KC at least) arts district, rather than constructing a new stadium more inside downtown on one of the many, many surface lots or areas with more unused real estate. For their part, the Chiefs “improvements” were mainly new lounges and clubs for corporate or high-dollar spenders. The only change I would have seen on a game day are covered concourses on the upper deck. Not much incentive for $800 million taxpayer dollars. Had they simply proposed real bathrooms out in that expanse of parking lots for tailgaters, it may have had a chance.

    I love Kaufman stadium. Beautiful once you get inside, only good site lines, amenities are up to snuff.

    It’s a racket to tear down a perfectly good stadium to replace it on the taxpayers dime so an owner can reap more profits from
    Luxury boxes.

    KC transplant from Utah here, the location of those stadiums is AMAZING. Isolated enough that you essentially have dedicated freeway access, close enough that getting to the arena is convenient. Downtown arenas/stadiums are traffic nightmares, you’ll spend more time in the parking lot than at the actual event. Parking is already enough of a problem downtown as it is.

    Exactly, don’t give them a dime and let them move and let it be someone else’s problem.

    Excuse my geography ignorance but do Chiefs/Royals fans care if the team is moved across the border? Will fans stop rooting for Chiefs/Royals if they make this move?

    Seems like it’s still the same metropolitan area but I know I could be wrong. I grew up in LA and stopped caring as much about the LA Rams when they moved way down to Anaheim in the 80’s.

    I live in a ‘burb on the KS side, south of KC. In case you don’t know, in addition to KCMO, there is also a Kansas City, Kansas (basically right next to each other). To answer your question, I don’t think anyone will ultimately care which side of the border the teams play. Yes, there’s a lot of MO vs KS chirping around here, but as you point out, both teams represent the KC area in general, which encompasses the cities, and all the ‘burbs around them on both sides of the border. Also, where the stadiums would end up on the KS side would not be particularly far from where they are now, which is just over the border.

    Sort or like the New York Football Giants and the Jets who still play in NJ or not?

    I’d say similar, but not exactly. Again, regardless of what side of the state line they are on, there is both a KC KS and a KC MO, although the sports teams play in MO. A little different with the Giants and Jets, since they are NY, but play in NJ (and to split hairs, there’s no city named New Yort in NJ that I know of). But yes, regardless, the Chiefs and Royals would still represent the greater KC metro.

    @ Tim: there is a West New York in New Jersey. Nobody confuses it for New York City.

    Yeah I don’t like that moving between KCMO, and KCKS is treated like a re-location. Same with the talk around the Commies “re-locating,” from the Maryland’s DC suburbs to NoVA’s DC suburbs. These are not true re-locations in the sense we think of them. If they happen, they’ll still be the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. If you live on the Missouri side, you are still able to go to games, just a bit more of a drive I guess, which is what KS people deal with now. Like I get what they’re doing but calling it a re-location is a touch inaccurate, at least given what most American fans think of when they hear relocation.

    Absolutely I would stop routing for the Chiefs and Royals if they moved! The hate that Missouri fans have for Kansas goes beyond anything imaginable! They both clearly don’t realize the amount of supporters they’d both lose if they moved! So their revenue would go down! F KU!

    It’s all in the same metro. For most people it won’t make a great deal of difference whethet they play in Missouri or Kansas.

    What does this story have to do with uniforms? I thought this site was about uniform aesthetics.

    Not every story is about uniforms. Sometimes we go “off uni” on occasion. This is one of those times.

    “This is one of those times.” Immediately reminded me of an old George Carlin bit where he says, “Sometimes I go like this…”, goes whacky for a second or two, ends with that line. Thanks for the unintended chuckle this morning!

    “Visual history of sports” so a potential change of venue might affect the visual aspect of it, though not necessarily this team’s jerseys unless they start adding City jerseys and comes out with a KCK or KANSAS jersey instead of a KCM if they end up moving.

    Looking at this picture, I can imagine the original plan of having a roof that would slide, or roll, from one stadium to the other in case of bad weather. Keep the rain or snow out.

    Assuming the Chiefs and Royals stay in the KC metro area, state that doesn’t end up with the stadium going to end up the winner. Fans can still go to see their teams and someone else will be footing the bill for the stadium.

    Send one team to Kansas, leave the other in Missouri. Each state is extorted for 50% less.

    I was blown away with Kauffmann when I visited. Not a bad seat in the house, the swooping upper deck, the fountains, all of it felt great. I was especially impressed that it was obscenely hot and the Royals provided free ice water stations along the concourse.

    My stupid team basically exists now to make money off tourists who’ll pay to see their quirky, historic ballpark. Kauffman is charming and iconic. A new stadium will never get to that level. You’ll just wait a couple of decades and try for a new real estate extortion scheme. Cool.

    Yeah, I don’t really get it, other than both orgs looking to cash in for shiny new digs (I guess I do get it). I agree that Kauffman is quite nice, and I’ve always enjoyed games there, as well as Arrowhead. Both have been renovated, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with either. They are just older than what many other teams have. Not to mention, the amount of money those F’ers make off parking fees each game is absurd.

    Meanwhile, as two states try to court these two teams, one NHL franchise is dissolving into oblivion. What was left of the Arizona Coyotes organization has given up after being told the land auction they were seeking to win was cancelled due to the owner not having secured a necessary special use permit. And with pretty much every other municipality with a potentially viable spot having turned them down, the ‘Yotes are now facing extinction as the hockey operations start anew in Utah with their new owners.

    This country can’t fund or build anything. Except stadiums and arenas. Always money and resources for those.

    I would also note that state universities should count as “government”, and here in the South their athletic programs pretty much have the same situation over all other public needs. And if you’re a really famous retired quarterback in Mississippi, you can even get grants specifically for the poor diverted to build your daughter’s school a volleyball areana.

    This hurts. Kauffman Stadium is beautiful. I understand wanting to be downtown, or wanting a retail/restaurant district adjacent to the ballpark. But they are going to move from one of MLB’s crown jewel stadia. They could easily build around the park. Other than Dodger Stadium, I see that era of ballparks being extinct within the next decade.

    They could easily build around the ballpark (put up some multi-story parking garages, then build on the parking lots), but no one is offering them any free money to do this. They would have to borrow or (heaven forfend!) spend their own money.

    It won’t matter if its KC Missouri or KC Kansas, Chiefs will have same uni. Hunt family will tell NFL City Connect if it ever happens “No Thanks”

    I wonder how people on the eastern side of Missouri feel about this. The whole of Missouri aren’t Royals or Chiefs (well maybe now that the Rams have left) fans. I’d wager to say that Columbia would be the dividing line for Royals/Cardinals fans.

    Edit: Just looked it up and it seems Cardinals have about 2/3 of MO as fans.

    The Cardinals, besides usually having a good team, historically were pioneers in regional marketing. When they were the southernmost and westernmost MLB team, they planted farm clubs everywhere to the south and west, and then created a big radio network to match. In much of the South the Cardinals were THE team.

    There’s still a lot of Cardinals fans in Houston though perhaps quite elderly now.

    I remember in the 80s when they would be a big game from Kansas City and they’d show the overhead of both facilities I’d think “what a waste” because it was the height of the multi-purpose cookie cutter.

    Bless my heart.

    All these years later everyone has single purpose!

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