Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman: Team considering downtown stadium option

Kauffman Stadium.jpg
Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 14, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman said Tuesday the team is evaluating several options for where they will play in the future — among them a downtown stadium.

Sherman discussed the Royals' future stadium plans during a press conference to discuss a front-office reorganization, which included General Manager Dayton Moore's promotion to president with J.J. Picollo taking the reins as GM.

“We’re in a good spot here at Truman Sports Complex, but we need to start thinking about our plans for our stadium over the next five to 10 years,” Sherman said.

The Royals' current home, Kauffman Stadium, is part of the Truman Sports Complex.

The club's lease is up there after the 2030 season, and Sherman said the team has begun an internal process to look at options for the future.

Sherman said he won't put a timeline on the team’s decision-making process.

Rather, the organization will focus on ensuring its future home makes an impact on the community, the local economy and positively impacts the community’s quality of life “with a particular focus on those underrepresented in our community.”

    All of these conditions must be met in "real, measurable" ways, Sherman said.

    Sherman confirmed Tuesday he's been in conversations with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are the Royals' neighbors at the Truman Sports Complex, and Jackson County about the team's future.

    "As neighbors with the Royals in the Jackson County Sports Complex, we have enjoyed a long history of cooperation and goodwill," the Chiefs said in a statement to KSHB 41. "We value the tremendous relationships we share with both the organization as well as Chairman and CEO John Sherman, and we look forward to continuing to work together as the Royals navigate their plans for the future and we consider the best options for the Chiefs."

    Jackson County Sports Authority Executive Director Jim Rowland released a statement Tuesday afternoon about a potential downtown stadium.

    "We are certainly aware that the dialogue about the next iteration of the Truman Sports Complex and our great teams would begin sooner than later," Rowland said in the statement. "We look forward to hearing from the public and the teams over the next several years as we move toward the day when we collectively decide what the home of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals will look like past 2030."

    Sherman said Tuesday he anticipates the future home of the Royals to be a public-private partnership.

    The possibility of a downtown stadium has been a hot topic among fans in Kansas City for years.

    it's a personal issue for Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr., who is a Royals Hall of Fame second baseman and also worked on construction crews that built the stadium.

    I can still remember working on the upper deck of the unfinished stadium while looking down on the field and dreaming that I would one day be lucky enough to play in this amazing stadium in my own hometown. Not only did that dream come true, but I was lucky enough to call Kauffman Stadium home for my entire 18-year career. I have also been grateful to see my number retired and a statue built in my honor. I truly believe there is no one who loves this nearly 50-year-old stadium, and the fans that call it home, more than I do.

    Now as County Executive, I am extremely proud to lead a county that is home to two of the greatest stadiums in professional sports. As I have said from day one, we have a responsibility to ensure the County is using the tax dollars entrusted to us by our residents as effectively and efficiently as possible. Part of that responsibility is being open to opportunities to improve the impact our investments are making in the community, including a potential downtown stadium.

    Finally, I have been truly impressed by the thoughtful approach that John Sherman and other members of the Royals’ ownership group are taking. During our discussions, Mr. Sherman has made it clear that any decisions the team makes will be driven by the impact they will have on our community, in particular areas that have been historically underserved.
    Frank White Jr., Jackson County executive and Royals Hall of Famer

    Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said he anticipates "more discussion with John Sherman and Royals ownership about the team's future plans in Kansas City."

    There are some who say the tradition is "really worth preserving" at the Truman Sports Complex, while others think a downtown stadium would be good for businesses in the area.

    Regardless, fans KSHB 41 News spoke with in 2020 said it would have to be just the right plan, with the right funding.

    One proposal puts the stadium near 12th Street and Cherry Street, just a few blocks northeast of the T-Mobile Center and the Power and Light District.

    In 2017, the City of Kansas City contributed funding to a study spearheaded by the Downtown Council of Kansas City looking at the prospect of a downtown stadium. The Royals said at the time the club was not involved.

    The team has changed ownership since then. Former Royals owner David Glass sold the organization to John Sherman in 2019.

    When he took over, Sherman said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a downtown stadium.

    "There's a lot of thought that baseball — there is more economic opportunity if it's in dense areas where you can have ancillary real estate. But you know we'll evaluate that decision, those thoughts those strategies over the next few years and it'll be driven by what's best for the club, what's best for our fans, and what's best for the community," Sherman told KSHB 41 in November 2019.