“The Kansas City Royals of North Kansas City”?
With the expiration of the leases for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals creeping ever closer, there’s been a lot of talk about where the teams might build their next stadiums—and how much local taxpayers will end up subsidizing them. My position, and that of many of our staff, is pretty clear: Missouri taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing professional sports.
Well, I have some bad news. On Friday, word broke that the Royals have been talking with North Kansas City and Clay County officials for a ballpark development, and those talks have gotten fairly serious. According to two county commissioners and the mayor of North Kansas City:
Over the past few months leaders from Clay County and the City of North Kansas City have had conversations with the Kansas City Royals about the possibility of developing a new baseball stadium and adjacent ballpark district in North Kansas City. This plan would include commercial, residential development and entertainment experiences adjacent to the stadium, complementing the amazing businesses and entertainment options that already exist in downtown North Kansas City today. We look forward to continuing our work with the Royals and have additional meetings scheduled with them.
The Royals confirmed in a recent media report that they are considering a location in North Kansas City. We think it is important that we communicate our efforts with the community, and the reason we plan to work with the Royals on behalf of our respective jurisdictions to select a North Kansas City site for the planned new stadium. Although no agreement has been reached by either Clay County or North Kansas City to take action on, we are striving to lay the groundwork necessary for a plan that is positive for the city, the county and our entire community.
A vote on a countywide tax for the stadium could come as early as this November, a quick turnaround for such a seemingly late-breaking project. Apart from the expected taxpayer subsidy, the potential North Kansas City sites have a few advantages, including no Kansas City earnings tax (and so instant raises for Royals employees) and a more stable crime situation than Kansas City, which just had its 88th murder of 2023, including seven murders in just the last four days as of this writing.
I expected both the Chiefs and Royals would remain in the region but thought that the Chiefs were the most likely to head to Kansas or some other non-Kansas City, Missouri jurisdiction. Friday’s news upends that assumption, with both teams leaving Kansas City’s boundaries now a legitimate possibility. No taxpayers should subsidize the Chiefs or Royals, but if Kansas City lucks out and gets to enjoy the teams without having to line their pockets, all the better.
And to North Kansas City and Clay County, I’ll just say this: Really? C’mon now.