WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. -- The American Royal Association announced Tuesday that it will move out of Kansas City, Mo., where it has been since its beginning, to Wyandotte County.
Although its lease with Kansas City, Mo., is not up until 2045, FOX 4 first reported in May that a board member for the American Royal revealed they were leaning toward leaving Kansas City and the location at Kemper Arena, and moving their headquarters to Kansas City, Kan.
The city of Kansas City, Mo., has been looking at proposals to repurpose Kemper, which would make it unsuitable for the American Royals' needs.
"I'm excited that the American Royal project, after several years of work, is beginning to come together in some very tangible ways," said Mayor Mark Holland, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kan., in a news release.
The new complex for the American Royal Association will include arena space, exhibit space, barn and expo space as well as a new education center and museum.
"The American Royal currently hosts more than 50 events annually, attracting nearly 270,000 attendees and has an economic impact of more than $60 million annually," said Angie Stanland, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Royal. "Last year we awarded $1.4 million in scholarships and support to our youth education programs. Our priorities in the due diligence process were to find a regional home that would allow us to fulfill our mission, accommodate our growing events and allow for future growth.... We have found the ideal location to do just that."
The American Royal began in 1899 as the National Hereford Show. It now includes the World Series of Barbecue, considered the world's largest barbecue competition. There are also six equestrian shows, a livestock show, youth and PRCA rodeos.
"As we close this chapter of the American Royal’s story here in Kansas City, Missouri, I’m reminded of our City’s proud agricultural heritage and am appreciative of the partnership we’ve had with the American Royal for generations. I wish the Royal the absolute best and look forward to seeing what the future holds for the organization. We can absolutely keep our fond memories of the American Royal alive, while honoring our past and preparing for our next chapter as an entrepreneurial, high tech and innovative community of the future. The success of emerging neighborhoods, like the West Bottoms, is critical to our City’s ability to continually reinvent itself in order to remain competitive. I’m committed to working with the City Manager and Council to make the West Bottoms as lively as it was when the first American Royal Show debuted in 1905," said Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James in a statement released after the announcement.
As for Kemper, one proposal was to bring in youth hockey and use Kemper for smaller concerts not big enough for Sprint Center. The favorite proposal was to turn Kemper into a youth sports complex. The city chose a private group led by the Foutch Brothers to repurpose Kemper Arena.