April 15, 2024

Assessing failure of plans by Chiefs, Royals for their stadiums

Although the Chiefs and Royals tried to push proposals that would’ve solidified their futures in Kansas City, voters in Jackson County, Mo., gave them a thumbs down.

On Tuesday night, 58 percent of voters in Jackson County rejected a 40-year sales tax that would’ve paid for the construction of a new Royals ballpark in downtown Kansas City and renovations for the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium.

The Royals pledged $1 billion for their $2B-plus project, while the Chiefs pledged $300 million for an $800M renovation.

“The voters of Jackson County did not reject simply the concept of sending taxes to billionaires to fund shiny new objects,” wrote Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star. “This is not a cozy fit into a national narrative. They rejected a haphazard, moving target of a campaign that asked voters to trust what would come after the vote rather than what had come before it.”

Throughout the process, the Royals lacked a clear plan for their ballpark. They changed potential locations multiple times before settling on the Crossroads District. 

Per McDowell, this proposal would’ve affected more than 700,000 people, including several business owners.  

“I think everyone has the same mixed feelings,” Jackson County resident Deidre Chasteen told the Associated Press. “It’s not that we mind paying the three-eighths-cent sales tax. I think the problem is putting the stadium where it is. We’re saying don’t ruin businesses that have been established down there for years.”

While the proposal’s failure raises questions about the future of the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City, don’t expect them to skip town. Per The Kansas City Star’s Vahe Gregorian, Royals owner John Sherman implied threats the teams would leave were a ploy suggested by the committee the team hired.

“Somebody smarter than me finds that a message that resonates,” Sherman said. “But I answer that question [will the Royals leave Kansas City] with, ‘This is my hometown.'”

To acquire the funding they want, both organizations should devise a plan that doesn’t impact businesses in Kansas City and doesn’t cost the taxpayers as much money.