County leaders question process while waiting on KC Royals stadium decision

Opening day at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2023.
Opening day at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2023.(KCTV5 News)
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 3:16 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A week after the Kansas City Royals released renderings of what their new home could look like, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority made its case.

Members of the commission addressed Jackson County Legislators during a meeting Monday.

While Jackson County owns the Truman Sports Complex, and the two stadiums, the Jackson County Sports Authority controls what happens at the complex, serving as a pseudo landlord.

Members told commissioners they are waiting on a lot of information from both the Royals and the Chiefs before moving forward on lease negotiations. More info is also needed before any talk of potentially extending the 3/8th-cent sales tax the Royals support.

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“There’s been a lot of talk about the Royals leaving and wanting to relocate. We’ve been working with the teams, both the Chiefs and the Royals over the past year,” Shawn Foster, Jackson County Sports Authority Chair, said.

“In order to put anything on the ballot, I think we have to have executed leases for both the Chiefs and the Royals. To put it on the ballot without executing leases would put the county in a very bad position.”

One of the issues facing Jackson County is that the Royals and Chiefs are asking for different terms. The Royals want a 40-year sales tax to stay in the county. The Chiefs have supported a 25-year extension of the sales tax.

While the Royals have said it is not feasible to renovate the current Kauffman Stadium, at least one Jackson County Legislator wants to make sure renovations are no longer on the table.

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" I think it’s probably clear that Jackson County wants to keep the stadiums. I just want to make that clear because I think there is some speculation that there isn’t that interest,” Manny Abarca, Jackson County Legislator, said. When it comes to the need to move, within your willingness and ability, where does that start? Because I think, for me, this discussion is already starting at the point of the Royals must move downtown or somewhere else. Is that kind of a shared concern that the current stadium is not something we can salvage?”

Commissioners made it clear that the only known regarding the Royals is that the organization is under a lease to play at the Truman Sports Complex until 2031.

“The Royals have said that they are going to honor that lease. At the end of the day Mr. Sherman owns the team. If he wants to take it downtown, he can take it downtown,” Foster said.

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A decision about the future location of the Royals is expected to be announced sometime in September.

The Sports Authority said the timeline leaves little time for negotiating leases and getting a possible sales tax on a ballot.

The Royals released a statement saying the organization is in contact with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and are ready to negotiate.