Where plans for a baseball stadium in downtown Kansas City stand

Kauffman Stadium.jpeg
Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 14:08:16-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — At spring training in Surprise, Arizona, John Sherman, the chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball franchise, said the team continues to study the possibility of building a new ballpark.

The Royals have played at Kauffman Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex since 1973, after four years at Municipal Stadium.

“We’re looking at multiple sites, we’ve engaged some really good firms to help us look at that in terms of sports, architecture, economic impact studies, and things like that,” Sherman said at spring training in March.

Those statements align with an announcement Sherman made in September 2021 saying he was studying the long-term future of the Royals’ stadium. In both September and March, Sherman refused to put a timeline on when any decision could be made.

The Royals are contractually obligated to play at the Truman Sports Complex through the end of the 2030 season.

One revelation Sherman made at spring training was he envisions any potential new stadium to be paid for with a combination of team money and taxpayer dollars in a public-private partnership.

“We’ll be big investors,” Sherman said of the Royals organization. “We got a really good team working on it and excited to see how that comes out.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has previously used Twitter to compare a downtown baseball stadium to a Maserati. Sure, it’d be great to have one, but there are other items in the budget to prioritize before buying a luxury car.

Lucas has also used Twitter to suggest exploring a bi-state option where taxpayers in both Missouri and Kansas would pay for a new stadium in Missouri, tweeting "would KS play ball?"

Sherman views a new ballpark as both a business and community decision. In one sentence he asked, “Why shouldn't we want to optimize the value of this asset,” and then went on to say, “You can do a lot for a community in terms of economic impact [with a new stadium]. And so that's what we're studying.”

The idea of a baseball stadium in downtown Kansas City has come up before. In 2017, the downtown council announced it was studying the feasibility of a stadium.

In 2020, KC-based architectural firm Pendulum released an unsolicited concept for a stadium at East 12th and Cherry streets.

In 2021, the Urban Land Institute’s Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition asked graduate students from around the world to submit designs for how to redevelop Kansas City’s East Village, the area east of City Hall.

Finalists from the University of Houston and the University of California, Berkeley included a downtown baseball stadium in their designs. The team from Ohio State University, which received an honorable mention, also included a stadium.