Chiefs and Royals dealt blow as Missouri voters REJECT sales tax measure for Arrowhead renovations and a new ballpark… throwing their future in Kansas City into question

The future of the Chiefs and Royals in Kansas City was thrown into doubt Tuesday night as residents of Jackson County, Missouri, decisively voted down a sales tax measure that would have helped fund major renovations to Arrowhead Stadium and a new ballpark downtown.

Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan acknowledged long before the final outcome that the initiative would fail. More than 58 percent of voters ultimately rejected the plan, which would have replaced the existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax paid to maintain the Truman Sports Complex — home to the Kauffman and Arrowhead for more than 50 years stadiums – with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next forty years.

The Royals, who had committed at least $1 billion from property to their project, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help finance a more than $2 billion baseball district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who had committed $300 million in private money, are said to have used their share as part of an $800 million renovation of Arrowhead Stadium.

“We are deeply disappointed as we stand firm in our belief that Jackson County is outperforming the Chiefs and the Royals,” said Sherman, who left without asking any questions.

The future of the Chiefs and Royals in Kansas City was thrown into doubt Tuesday night as Missouri voters rejected a sales tax measure to fund their new stadium plans

The Chiefs hoped to renovate Arrowhead Stadium, where players like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce ply their trade

The Chiefs hoped to renovate Arrowhead Stadium, where players like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce ply their trade

The Royals had plans to build a new ballpark downtown to replace Kauffman Stadium

The Royals had plans to build a new ballpark downtown to replace Kauffman Stadium

“As someone whose roots run deep in this city, who has been a devoted fan and season ticket holder for both teams, and now leads a remarkable ownership group.”

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 a lot of things: the Chiefs could try again with a reworked plan that’s more palatable to voters, change their entire financing approach to include more private investment, or they could even listen to offers from competing cities and states – like Kansas, right across the street. the state line to the west – which would provide the public funding they want.

‘We’ve talked a lot about the democratic process. We respect the process,” Donovan said. “We believe we have made the best offer for Jackson County. We are ready to expand the long-standing partnership the teams have enjoyed with this province.”

The Truman Sports Complex’s current lease runs through Jan. 31, 2031. And while Sherman has said the Royals would not play at Kauffman Stadium after the 2030 season, the Chiefs hope to remain at Arrowhead Stadium.

The tax (or, more accurately, the stadium plans) faced significant public resistance almost from the start, as teams struggled to present concrete plans to voters and were accused of lacking transparency throughout the process.

Last fall, the Royals unveiled two potential locations for their baseball district, one on the eastern edge of downtown and the other across the Missouri River in Clay County, Missouri. But a self-imposed deadline to finalize their location passed without a plan, and in February they finally announced that they had scrapped both concepts and chosen another spot downtown.

The new area, known as the Crossroads, has a vibrant arts and restaurant scene and is just steps from the T-Mobile Center and the vibrant Power & Light entertainment district. It is also close to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the 18th & Vine area, home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

But even then, the plans remained vague. The latest renderings of the ballpark became outdated last week when the Royals agreed to Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ request to keep open a main street that would have been part of the stadium’s footprint; Lucas did not support the tax initiative until the Royals agreed to the change.

Royals owner John Sherman said he was

Royals owner John Sherman said he was “deeply disappointed” by the outcome of the vote

Chiefs president Mark Donovan echoed Sherman's thoughts after the rejection

Chiefs president Mark Donovan echoed Sherman’s thoughts after the rejection

“I think everyone has the same mixed feelings,” said Deidre Chasteen, a voter from Independence, Missouri, who remembers attending games at the old Municipal Stadium when the Royals played there from 1969-72.

“It’s not that we mind paying the three-eighths of a cent sales tax. I think the problem is putting the stadium where it is,” Chasteen said. “We say that we should not ruin companies that have been there for years.”

The club had also failed to reach sales agreements with many landowners in the Crossroads, and other businesses had raised concerns about traffic, congestion and parking in an already thriving residential area.

Sarah Tourville, executive vice president of the Royals, said the goal was to occupy the stadium for opening day in 2028.

The Royals moved from Municipal Stadium to Kauffman Stadium in 1973 and extensively renovated the ballpark from 2009 to 2012. Arrowhead Stadium was built next to Kauffman Stadium and also renovated around the same time.

While the Royals insist on playing in a new stadium, 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.

“We would not be willing to sign another 25-year lease without the financing to properly renovate and reimagine the stadium,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, whose father, Lamar Hunt, helped with the construction of the existing stadiums, before Tuesday’s vote. . “The funding puzzle is very important to us to make sure we have enough money to do everything we’ve outlined.”

The Chiefs had hoped their success, including three Super Bowl titles in the past five years, would sway voters in their favor.

“What my dad liked most about the stadium was the connection the team had with our fan base,” Hunt said. “He loved this building for what it means to the fans, and we continue to believe it is one of the best stadiums in the National Football League and a bucket list destination for fans in the NFL.”