Kansas Approves Plan to Lure Chiefs, Royals Across State Line

Legislators overwhelmingly support measure to finance new stadiums for Missouri teams
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2024 1:04 PM CDT
Kansas Approves Plan to Lure Chiefs, Royals Across State Line
A woman and her dog walk past Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals baseball team, in Kansas City, Missouri.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Kansas is making a serious run at becoming the new home for the reigning Super Bowl champions with legislators approving a plan Tuesday to lure the Chiefs and Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals away from Missouri.

  • Bipartisan legislative supermajorities OK'd the measure to authorize state bonds to help finance new stadiums and practice facilities for both teams on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area of 2.3 million residents, which is split by the border with Missouri, the AP reports. Three Super Bowl victories in five years—and player Travis Kelce's romance with pop icon Taylor Swift—have made the Chiefs perhaps the area's most celebrated civic asset.

  • The votes on the Kansas stadium-financing plan were 84-38 in the state House and 27-8 in the Senate. Lawmakers from across the state—even western Kansas, far from any new stadium—supported the measure. It would allow state bonds to cover up to 70% of each new stadium, paying them off over 30 years with revenues from sports betting, state lottery ticket sales, and new sales and alcohol taxes collected from shopping and entertainment districts around the new stadiums. Jackson County, Missouri voters rejected a stadium tax in April.
  • The plan from the Republican-controlled Legislature goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. While she stopped short of promising to sign it, she said in a statement that "Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse."
  • Both the Chiefs and the Royals said they look forward to considering Kansas options. The lease on the Missouri complex with their side-by-side stadiums runs through January 2031 and both teams have said they should have already started making plans for the future.
  • In Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas promised to "lay out a good offer" to keep both teams in town. "Today was largely, in my opinion, about leverage," Lucas said. "And the teams are in an exceptional leverage position." Some Kansas officials reached the same conclusion. "I think the Chiefs and the Royals are using us," said state Rep. Susan Ruiz, a Kansas City-area Democrat.
(More Kansas City Chiefs stories.)

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