Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman has spoken for the past year about his vision for a potential new ballpark in downtown Kansas City.
On Tuesday afternoon, in a message to fans shared on social media and sent to season ticket holders, he revealed more information about the potential project, including an estimated price:
As Sherman points out in the letter, that would for the time being virtual the club a new home stadium – a successor to Kaufman Stadium, where The Royals’ current lease is with Jackson County Set to expire after this contract—the most expensive project in Kansas City history.
There are still many unknowns about Sherman’s visionBut even such minuscule details have been scarce since it was announced that the team he bought in 2019 would begin exploring the idea of a new football stadium in or near the heart of the city.
Sherman notes that the team has sites under consideration now, and vows to involve community members in the process moving forward. Many questions still surround the potential project.
the newest major league football stadium to open, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, is worth $1.1 billionwhich included the calculation of the retractable roof.
Kaufman is the sixth oldest 30 major league baseball stadiums. Of the 24 newer stadiums, 16 have opened since 2000.
This is the text of Sherman’s letter:
To fans of the Royals and the Kansas City community:
I am reaching out to you on two fronts. First, I want to thank you for your support this past season. Although we were not satisfied with our results on the field, the future of our baseball club under JJ Picollo and new manager Matt Quatraro holds great promise.
Our goal is to get back in shape and compete for the championship on behalf of the big Kansas City fans.
Second, as we look to the future, I’d like to share with you our view of Kaufman Stadium, our cherished home for the past half century. We’ve enjoyed many exciting moments together at the Truman Sports Complex over the years. In the spirit of Ewing Kaufman, our current mission is to look forward to ensuring that Major League Baseball and the Kansas City Royals thrive in this region for decades to come.
True to Mr. K’s original vision for the franchise, we also want to ensure that we have a world-class football stadium that remains competitive with our peers nationwide and best serves our community to the fullest. Kansas City is evolving into a leading sports destination – proven by the NFL Draft, the new KC Current Stadium, the World Cup – and much more to come. These developments, along with the new KCI Airport Terminal, are transforming our region.
As you already know, “K” is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. When its current lease with Jackson County expires at the end of this decade, it will be 60 years old. The renovations required at The K to achieve our goals would cost as much or more than it would cost to develop a new football stadium. A new home would be a much better investment, both for the local taxpayer dollars that already support our facility, and for the Kansas City community.
A year ago, we announced that we were conducting a serious, thoughtful and transparent process to explore the possibility of creating a new globe. We said we would look at various locations around the city that would allow for residential, commercial and community components.
We are now pleased to share that we have several premier locations under close consideration, both in and near downtown Kansas City.
Each site presents unique opportunities. We look forward to getting input from the public over the coming months on our vision to best serve our residents and build on the momentum our city is experiencing. To accomplish this step, our plans will hinge on our continued public-private partnership and investment with several local jurisdictions and the state of Missouri.
I’d like to share with you our latest thoughts and benchmarks as we continue our exploration with you:
• Wherever we play baseball, we will pursue efforts that result in real, measurable 1) societal impact, 2) economic growth, and 3) an improvement in the quality of life for the citizens of our region, with a focus on the historically underrepresented members of our community.
• Our vision is not limited to building a facility that does justice to the spirit of The K. We want to build a world-class experience – a new football field area and everything that comes with it – an experience woven into the fabric of our corporate city, that can host events and concerts, and boost our local economy. We also envision integrating our Kansas City fountains, Royals crown, and our team’s rich traditions and history into a new ballpark area.
• The proposed stadium area will become a new home for the Royals fans on a large scale – whether inside a modern football stadium or in the renovated surrounding area. We will marry the traditions of The K with an even better experience for our fans.
• With a mix of public and private investment, including our own intent to invest hundreds of millions of dollars directly in the stadium and stadium area, the long-term vision remains a work in progress. We envision local restaurants and shops, office space, hotels, and a variety of housing opportunities that will be accessible to Kansas residents from all walks of life. Affordable housing options will be important to our efforts.
We will also work closely with our local transportation leaders to ensure public transportation options are accommodated for a new football stadium area.
• Moving forward this process will result in the largest public-private development project in Kansas City history, estimated to be worth $2 billion as currently projected.
Creating this new region could create 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in labor income, and an estimated $2.8 billion in total economic output, as well as spur additional investment next door.
• We expect the inaugural year of the new stadium to generate approximately $185 million more in regional economic output than The K does today. Larger regional visits will maintain more than 600 new jobs, and spending in the new ballpark area and across the region will generate more than $60 million in new tax revenue over the first decade.
• A new stadium can stimulate beneficial new investment around it. New development around the ballpark could attract 2,200 jobs to the site, with hiring representing $200 million in annual labor income and more than $500 million in annual economic output.
All of our planning is based on two guiding principles. First, we will not require the citizens of Jackson County to contribute any more tax money than you do today. Second, we want to take these steps together, with your input and participation, as a community.
Please know that any final decisions will be made with broad input from the community, and in the best interests of our fans, the long-term future of the Royals, and our community in Greater Kansas City. In the next few months, in order to “keep the streak going,” we will 1) begin a listening tour throughout our region to discuss our plan, vision, and economic benefits with our community, partners, and political leaders, and 2) begin a serious discussion with local, state, and federal officials regarding additional funding sources. Potential to help make this project a reality.
Above all, any decision we reach will have Kansas City in mind first. Transparency will continue to be our guide.
Finally, a personal note. This is my hometown. This community means a lot to me. That’s also why I bought the team — along with a group of Kansas City residents who are passionately committed to our community, who believe in all it can become in the next 50 years and beyond.
Ewing Kaufman once said, “Basically, the reason I got into the baseball business is because I think the people of Kansas City and this great metropolitan area should have a Major League Baseball team.” There are 25 markets in America that have a team like our boys in blue, and we are grateful to be a major league city. We want to make sure that we not only put a good product out in the field, but that we have a uniquely positive impact outside the field – in the community we love.
From the 1985 and 2015 Royals World Series championship teams, to the Monarchs and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, to your support and dedication over the decades, our city has a rich baseball history. If this proposal goes ahead, we see this development as another storied Kansas City chapter.
We are very much looking forward to writing it together.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company
Kansas City Royals
This story was originally published Nov 15, 2022 5:27 PM.