Teams' Future Unclear After Voters Reject Stadium Tax

Tax would have been in place for 40 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2024 3:12 PM CDT
Voters Reject Stadium Tax for Royals, Chiefs
Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman address the crowd during an election watch party, Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The future of the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City was thrown into question Tuesday night when residents of Jackson County, Missouri, resoundingly voted down a sales tax measure that would have helped to fund a new downtown ballpark along with major renovations to Arrowhead Stadium. Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan acknowledged long before the final tally that the initiative would fail. More than 58% of voters ultimately rejected the plan, which would have replaced an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has been paying for the upkeep of Truman Sports Complex—the home for more than 50 years to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums—and was due to expire in 2031 with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next 40 years, the AP reports.

The Royals, who had pledged at least $1 billion from ownership for their project, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2 billion-plus ballpark district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who had committed $300 million in private money, would have used their share as part of an $800 million overhaul of Arrowhead Stadium. "We're deeply disappointed as we are steadfast in our belief that Jackson County is better with the Chiefs and the Royals," said Sherman, who left an election watch event without taking questions.

Donovan said the Chiefs would do "what is in the best interest of our fans and our organization as we move forward." That could mean many things: The Chiefs could try again with a reworked plan more agreeable to voters, change their entire funding approach to include more private investment, or they could even listen to offers from competing cities and states—such as Kansas, just across the state line to the west—that would provide the public funding they desire. While the Royals insist on playing in a new ballpark, the Chiefs wanted to stay put with a renovation that would have touched every aspect of their 52-year-old building, from the seating bowl to luxury amenities to the tailgating scene.

(More Kansas City stories.)

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