It’s a model that has worked well in other markets: Kansas City Royals They suggest a New football stadium in downtown Kansas City As part of a $2 billion project.
The plan, as revealed by the owner John Sherman In a message to fans, the Royals should stick to a downtown location rather than commit to long-term renovations at the team’s longtime home, Kauffman Stadium. That’s a long-term plan, sure: The team’s lease on the K expires at the end of the contract, so even factoring in three years to build the stadium, the team leaves plenty of time to work out a financing plan and solicit input from the community.
This is not surprising: Sherman has spoken publicly about the need for a new football stadium: Renovating Kaufman Stadium for use in a modern game day experience will likely cost more than a new outdoor football stadium, and any money spent on the new downtown Kansas City. A football stadium in the city would yield far more economic benefits than would the Truman Sports Complex. In addition, the new stadium will generate some new revenue streams – such as naming rights. Kauffman Stadium is a beloved football stadium, and although it looks like there will be a homage to the K at the new stadium (the performances show a curved Kauffman-style grandstand), we guess it won’t be a version of Kauffman as much as an homage.
None of this should come as a surprise: In an era when team owners expect football stadiums to generate revenue outside of game days, and baseball teams become de facto real estate developers (The Battery and Wrigleyville, for example), Sherman puts the idea of a new stadium into play. Downtown Kansas City as an economic proposition is something he’s been discussing for months.
Here is the message from Sherman:
To the dedicated Royals fans 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 create real and measurable 1) societal impact, 2) economic growth, and 3) an improvement in the quality of life for the citizens of our region, with an emphasis on the historically underrepresented members of our community.
- Our vision is not just to build 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 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 far and wide – both inside a modern football stadium and in the revitalized surrounding area. We will marry the traditions of The K with an even better experience for our fans.
- Through a mixture of public and private investment, including our own intention to invest hundreds of millions of dollars directly in the football field and stadium district, the long-term vision remains in motion. 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 with this process will result in the largest public-private development project in Kansas City history, expected to take place 2 billion as currently envisioned. The creation of this new playground area can 20,000 jobs, $1.4 billion in business income,And the An estimated $2.8 billion in total economic outputas well as stimulating additional investment in the vicinity.
- We expect the opening year of the new stadium to be approx $185 million more in regional economic outputthan what K is doing today. The larger regional visit will continue More than 600 new jobsSpending in the new stadium area and across the region will pay more than $60 million in new tax revenue during the first decade.
- A new stadium can also spur meaningful new investments around it. New development around the stadium could attract 2,200 jobs on site, with the function of representing $200 million in annual business income and more 500 million dollars of annual economic output.
The basis of all our plans are two directives 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.
What’s next: more planning. Sherman at one point raised the possibility of opening in 2026. This seems very optimistic. There will be a lot of opposition to a new downtown football stadium for many reasons; Previous opinion polls have shown opposition to this ideaAnd there would be those who would argue against any public funds to build a new football stadium when there is a fully adequate facility at Kaufman Stadium. In addition, large projects take a long time, so it may be many years before a new football stadium opens in downtown Kansas City.
Performances courtesy of the Kansas City Royals.
Related stories: Sherman: Why don’t you dream big about the new Royals game downtown?; The new downtown Royals stadium appears to be a matter of when, not if; The new Kansas City stadium may affect the Truman Sports Complex; Sherman: The Royals look at a new ballpark in downtown Kansas City; New Royals owner open front Downtown KC Ballpark; MLB approves sale of Royals to John Sherman-Led Group; The pending Kings sale could inflame talks about New Kansas City Stadium; Local investors buy the Kansas City Royals from the Glass Family