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Kansas lawmakers make play for 2 pro sports franchises, likely Chiefs, Royals

Truman Sports Complex Kauffman and Arrowhead.jpeg
Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 29, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas lawmakers are trying to put together a package that would pay for new stadiums for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals.

There would be temporary and targeted changes to the STAR Bonds program in order to attract certain pro sports franchises, according to information released at a Monday meeting of the Conference Committee Senate and House Commerce.

There would be only two stadium projects allowed and at least $1 billion in investments in the project or projects.

The teams must come from either the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB.

Among the other must-haves are stadiums with at least 30,000 seats and practice facilities.

The stadiums and facilities do not have to be built in the same area, according to information from Monday's meeting.

"It's very important to send a very positive message to the sports community and since Jackson County dropped the ball, we're in a position to do a scoop and score," Kansas Rep. Sean Tarwater, who made the presentation about the potential for two major professional sports teams playing in Kansas, said.

The efforts from Kansas lawmakers come weeks after Jackson County voters rejected Question 1, a sales tax that would've helped fund stadium projects for the Chiefs and Royals.

Chiefs CEO and chairman Clark Hunt confirmed over the weekend the team is exploring options outside of Jackson County.

Lawmakers were expected to continue working out the details of the package on Tuesday at the Kansas Capitol in Topeka.

Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. shared the following statement with KSHB 41 News:

As the Jackson County Executive, I fully recognize the significant role the Chiefs organization plays in our community. They are not just a very successful private business; they are a source of pride and a central part of our local identity. We are honored to have them in Jackson County, home to the most passionate fans and the most iconic stadium in football—Jackson County's Arrowhead Stadium, renowned for its electrifying atmosphere and deafening cheers.

Our current contract requires the Chiefs play their home games at Arrowhead Stadium through 2030, with team options to extend the agreement through 2040. I am committed to ensuring any future agreements are equitable and beneficial for our taxpayers. This is about more than business—it's about preserving the profound cultural connection the Chiefs have with our region.

I look forward to working with the team, my colleagues on the county legislature, and our community to strengthen and extend our relationship with the Chiefs. As we progress, I am dedicated to shaping agreements that are mutually beneficial, supporting the team’s long-term presence and enhancing the quality of life for all our residents. Together, we will ensure the Chiefs continue to thrive in Jackson County for many years to come.