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'Everybody needs to calm down,' says KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas on Chiefs, Royals possibly moving

Lucas' goal is to keep teams in city without launching a border war
Mayor Quinton Lucas.png
Posted at 12:12 PM, Jun 11, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said Tuesday there is not an immediate threat of the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals leaving the city, despite wide speculation about other municipalities courting them.

The efforts to lure the teams to Kansas follow a failed vote in April to use sales tax revenue collected in Jackson County to help pay for a new baseball stadium and renovations to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“My view is, everybody needs to calm down," Lucas said. "I think everyone should calm down."

Lucas is committed to continuing conversations with both teams about how to keep them in the city.

He sees what some call speculation as the teams doing what they said they’d do if the vote failed in April.

“I see this as them looking at their options,” he said.

One option may be to use a financing model called STAR Bonds to move one or both teams to Kansas.

The state’s legislature will meet Tuesday, June 18. Some legislators hope to modify the state’s STAR Bond program to better tailor it to help pay for a new stadium.

“While there is much attention to it, this is one of those where every citizen tells me their opinion and engages in some way; I think there is some time to talk about and figure out what the best deal is," Lucas said. "Even if, let’s say the Kansas Legislature passes something next week, I doubt the week after you have some new arrangement very quickly. I’m not sure that’d be the most responsible thing."

Lucas explained his goal is to keep the Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium and foster a new stadium for the Royals in downtown Kansas City. He wants to avoid a border war.

"The border war was one of the most counterproductive things this region has ever seen. Our goal long-term needs to be to grow the pie," Lucas said. “I’m competing with Milwaukee and Minneapolis, not Mission, Kansas."

The teams are under lease to remain at their current stadiums through January 2031.

At a meeting Monday, the chief of staff for Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. told legislators the office is working to keep the teams in the county.

“We continue to move forward and are hopeful we can come to some resolution in the near future,” said Caleb Clifford. “Everything is on the table.”

A spokesperson for Gov. Mike Parson told KSHB 41 News last week the governor continues to have conversations with team leaders about remaining in Missouri.

But a state representative from the Kansas City area wants Missouri to do more. Mark Sharp is asking Parson to call a special session or for Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives Dean Plocher to create a special committee to handle negotiations with the teams.

Sharp said there is money leftover in the state budget to potentially help the teams. He’s fearful Kansas is closer than people realize to finalizing a proposal the teams couldn’t refuse.

“I do think we have to match their aggressiveness,” Sharp said. “This is one of those times we should be reactionary, we should fight, we should show the Chiefs we’re committed to them.”

Sharp said a 2023 study showed the Chiefs contribute $1 billion in economic impact around the Kansas City region and generate more than $25 million in tax revenue for the state.

Kansas City collects a one percent earnings tax on income earned in the city limits. Based on data from Spotrac, the Chiefs and Royals have a combined $361 million payroll this year.

Since players earn only half their checks in Kansas City — and the other half during road games — the payroll generates about $1.8 million in earnings tax for Kansas City.

But for fans who enjoy coming to Kauffman Stadium, like Cantis Williams, who lives in Blue Springs, they are not fond of the idea of traveling a farther distance to attend a game.

“I would love for them to stay here. It would impact me going to the game,” Williams said.

Jason Moss, who lives in Kansas, wants the Royals to stay at Kauffman, but he said he’d accept a stadium in Kansas if the team has to move.

“I think the fan base on either side of the state line will come, so one of these states better step up and make a choice,” he said.