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Chiefs’ Hunt: Future stadium plans will be independent of Royals; new stadium possible

Clark Hunt April 27 2024.png
Posted at 4:54 PM, Apr 27, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said Saturday the club plans to work independently from the Kansas City Royals in future stadium efforts.

Hunt was asked about the stadium issue less than a month after voters in Jackson County turned down a replacement sales tax extension that would have provided funding for stadium projects for both the Chiefs and Royals.

Following the April 2 vote, Hunt said he had a conversation with Royals Chairman and CEO John Sherman, in which they discussed options moving forward.

Twins Royals Baseball
Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, left, and Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman talk before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

“The Royals are going to be looking at options that may not include the Sports Complex, and we’ll be doing the same thing,” Hunt said Saturday. “I really think at this point it makes sense for us to go our separate ways.”

Hunt said the two clubs wanted to partner on the April 2 effort for several reasons, citing the teams’ shared use of the Truman Sports Complex over the last 50 years, the existing sales tax in place that helped fund renovations for both teams, and Hunt and the Chiefs Kingdom's fondness of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“There’s certainly nothing to preclude us coming back and doing something together, but he also feels the sense of urgency and I know he’s eager to find a long-term solution, which we are as well,” Hunt said.

In the three weeks since the vote, Hunt said the club has been focused on getting ready for the 2024 NFL Draft and reaching long-term contract extensions for President Mark Donovan, General Manager Brett Veach and Head Coach Andy Reid. Once the team clears the draft, Hunt says they’ll return to evaluating next steps for their future in the coming months.

“We will look at all of our options going forward, which is something that we mentioned before the vote,” Hunt said. “We’re going to have to be open-minded in how we approach this and that may involve a new stadium. It can be an open-air stadium or a domed stadium.”

It could also still involve renovations to the existing GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Hunt said the team would revisit the design of the renovations presented to voters this year and see what could be enhanced.

The failure of the vote opened questions of if the Chiefs and/or Royals would entertain options across the state line. Hunt said Saturday the team has been focused on the draft and has not had any discussions on the issue.

Earlier this month, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told Kansas Public Radio she’s not trying to recruit the Chiefs.

“Probably over half the people in the stands any given Sunday are Kansans," Kelly said April 18. “We claim them as our team, but we recognize that it’s probably in their best interest to stay where they are, so we won’t be making any overtures to the Chiefs.”

Hunt says that while the club will need to work quickly, he’s learned going through stadium development processes that they take years and it’s hard to come up with specific deadlines.

But Hunt acknowledged the clock is ticking.

“When we started on this process three years ago, it felt like we had a very long time - a long runway - with about nine-and-a-half years left on our lease. We’re now down to six-and-a-half,” Hunt said. “I do feel very much a sense of urgency and we will approach it from a broader perspective going forward. Because time is short for us at this point, we need to see what other options are out there for us.”