The Kansas City Chiefs may be tied to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, until 2031. But that doesn’t mean they’re not shopping for other future options.
The Chiefs have made it clear that they want to move to — well, Kansas City. But just the half of the city that’s across state lines.
Yes, this is your yearly reminder that half of Kansas City is not in Kansas at all. The only professional sports team that has “Kansas” in its name and is located in Kansas is Sporting Kansas City, of the MLS.
This leaves the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs, quite literally, on the outside looking in.
However, the franchise has expressed their interest in leaving Arrowhead Stadium and the state of Missouri. And the state of Kansas seems to be welcoming them “home” with open arms.
As a way to “entice” the Chiefs, legal Kansas sports betting revenue could be used as a way to build a new stadium in the Sunflower State.
Rebuild or relocate, that is the question?
Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri has been home to the Kansas City Chiefs since 1972. And Arrowhead is contractually the home of the Chiefs until 2031.
However, if there’s one thing we all know it’s that time flies. And seeing the Chiefs as the perennial Super Bowl contender they are, it’s fair to assume this decade will go by in the blink of an eye for the Chiefs and their fans.
So while 2031 may read like it’s an eternity away, we all know it’ll be here sooner than we like. Mark Donovan, the Chiefs President, knows this and is already considering a move to Kansas when this contract runs its course.
According to a report from Kevin Clark of The Ringer, Kansas stadium developers have pitched ideas to Donovan.
Something to watch indeed — and some of the most important people in Missouri are surely watching closely. Kansas City (Missouri) Mayor Quinton Lucas responded to the above tweet, saying:
“Kansas City has proudly hosted the Chiefs since the early 1960s. We look forward to working with the Chiefs, our state of Missouri partners, and local officials to ensure the Chiefs remain home in Kansas City and Missouri for generations to come.”
Why do the Chiefs want to move in the first place?
Well, that’s a good question. It’s not like their stadium is a dump — Arrowhead went through a $375 million renovation in 2010. And a second renovation isn’t off the table, according to Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt.
“We’ve had beautiful stadiums open now in Los Angeles and Las Vegas[.] And there will be things when we get to the end of our lease here in nine or so years that I’m sure we’ll want to incorporate into the stadium. One possibility will be another renovation of Arrowhead.”Clark Hunt, Owner Kansas City Chiefs
However, what is driving the Chiefs toward relocation is their sports complex roommate, the Kansas City Royals.
A move from Arrowhead, spearheaded by the Royals
While the Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals don’t share a field, they do share a complex — the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex.
And when John Sherman bought the Royals in 2019, he made it clear that their days in Missouri were numbered. Since he bought the team, Sherman stressed the idea of moving them to downtown Kansas City, across the state line.
“The way I look at it is we’re one of only 25 cities in the United States with a Major League Baseball franchise. Four cities have two and there’s one in Canada. So these are really valuable assets for a community. So why shouldn’t we want to optimize the value of this asset on behalf of our community.”John Sherman, Owner Kansas City Royals
The Royals’ potential move to downtown Kansas City sparks hope in both the “Keep the Chiefs in Missouri” and the “Move to Kansas” camps. If the Royals move, it’ll allow the Royals to demolish Kauffman Stadium and rebuild their stadium from scratch. Something that is incredibly appealing after the success of the LA Ram’s new SoFi Stadium.
However, if the Royals move and the Chiefs stay, it’ll be the first time in four decades that they don’t operate games across the street from one another.
While it would be hard to find enough space to build an entire sports complex in downtown Kansas City, fans surely value the relationship between the two teams.
“Obviously, we’ve been connected to the Royals for almost 50 years now here at the (Truman) sports complex, so their decision on their long-term future will have an impact on us,” said Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt.
“We’re going to watch as they go through the process. And at some point in the next year or so start thinking about what’s next for the Chiefs from a stadium standpoint.”
Kansas sports betting may push Chiefs’ hand
As I am writing this, a Kansas sports betting bill is being run through the Senate. Under the new sports betting law, a whopping 80% of sports betting revenue would go toward building professional stadiums in the state.
This would be huge for any prospective teams looking to move into the state. Not only because of jump-started stadium construction but because of the impact sports betting has on teams in the area.
Senate Bill 84, which is the bill that would ultimately legalize sports betting in Kansas, is awaiting Senate approval. SB 84 made it to the Senate on the day their 3-week break began, so we won’t know until April 25 whether or not it officially gets passed.
However, on April 13, Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson told a local radio show the sports betting bill will most likely be passed with no issues when the senate chamber reconvenes.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Associated Press