Home of the Chiefs: Both sides of state line debate football team’s future

Updated: Dec. 4, 2022 at 6:30 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Home to the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, the best tailgating in the NFL and recognized as the loudest sports stadium in the world, Arrowhead Stadium is as Kansas City as it gets. But there is change on the horizon as the lease for Arrowhead is up in the year 2031, and no one knows if the Chiefs will stay at the Truman Sports Complex in Missouri, or load up the moving trucks and head west to Kansas.

It made news around the country last March when Chiefs president Mark Donovan was quoted by the Sports Business Journal as saying: “Pretty consistently, we get inquiries from the state of Kansas, [that] if you’re going to make a change, what if you brought the stadium here? So we’re looking at that as well.”

KCTV5 visited with Blake Shreck, CEO of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce, on if there is a chance that Kansas could become the future home of the Chiefs.

“I think there’s absolutely a chance,” he said. “I don’t think it will be driven by the Kansas side. I think it will be in response to what the Chiefs would like to do if they really feel like a Kansas side location makes sense for them.”

Shreck has been a mover and shaker of economic development in Kansas. He has a long history with the local sports scene and has consulted as a negotiator between Missouri and Kansas as both states have lured businesses from the other side of the state line.

Shreck indicated he hasn’t phoned the Chiefs but did add the football team has called him.

“They are so good at what they do, they’re such great business people,” he said. “They have been quietly looking at options on both sides of the state line for decades.”

For its part, Kansas doubled down on luring the Chiefs west. State lawmakers added a provision to the sports betting bill that was passed earlier this year. It sets aside a portion of the state’s gambling tax revenue for the sole purpose of building a new stadium to attract a professional sports team to the Sunflower State.

Fireworks are seen over Arrowhead Stadium before the start of an NFL football game between the...
Fireworks are seen over Arrowhead Stadium before the start of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)

So where would the Chiefs move Arrowhead? Shreck said all signs point to the Legends area in Kansas City, Kansas. Already home to the Kansas Speedway and Sporting Kansas City, the Legends area is viewed as a good fit for the Chiefs because there is plenty of land to build on. It is also easy to access, sitting right next to I-435 and I-70.

But Chiefs fans who live in Missouri are not amused. KCTV5 spoke with several longtime fans who were tailgating before the game against the Tennessee Titans.

“I’d really hate it,” said Joe Schoen of Kirksville, Missouri. “I’ve been coming to Arrowhead for over 30-some years, almost 40-some now, and I’d really miss it. I don’t want to see us move anywhere, let alone Kansas.”

Zach Weigelt of St Robert, Missouri, added, “I wouldn’t be happy about it. The stadium has all the history here and I think the organization would lose a lot of fans if they would end up moving to Kansas.”

Mayor Quinton Lucas was in Israel when the news broke last March that the Chiefs would consider a move to Kansas.

“It was a bit of a surprise. I started getting text messages from people that are like are the Chiefs moving, and I’m like ‘what the heck is going on?’ And then you start to see the story — it all blows up,” the Kansas City mayor said. “Mark Donovan was very kind to call me, I think it was like the middle of the night of where I was at the time.”

Both Lucas and Shreck agree that what happens with Arrowhead depends in large part on what the Royals do. And now that Royals ownership has confirmed it plans to move the club to a new downtown stadium, that gives the Chiefs options.

With the Royals gone from the Truman Sports Complex, the Chiefs could demolish Kauffman and build a new stadium in its place surrounded by an entertainment district. That’s what Lucas thinks will happen.

“I see no scenario in which the Chiefs move West to Kansas,” he reinforced. “I think the Arrowhead stadium story, I think the venue it’s in now, the highways and intersections that are already set up suggest the Chiefs will be there for the long haul.”

Shreck said that scenario is hard to argue with.

“Would I be surprised if they ended up on the Kansas side somewhere or somewhere other than where they are now? Not at all,” he said. “But I think the odds are they will probably stay and be given almost carte blanche to develop that whole area out there and really make something unique for them.”

So what happens next? Shreck said the Chiefs are squarely focused on making sure the NFL draft goes off without a hitch which is held next year in Kansas City. But following the draft, he expects the talks about the future of Arrowhead to heat up.

The Kansas City Chiefs were asked to comment for this story but did not respond.