KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals say it’s going to take a little longer to select the site for their new stadium.
The Royals originally planned to announce the site for the $2 billion ballpark district in September, choosing between Clay County and Jackson County.
But now the team said a decision won’t happen by the end of the month. They did not release a new deadline for their announcement.
“I was sort of expecting that,” Jackson County Democratic Legislator Charlie Franklin told FOX4 Wednesday. “I really would have been surprised if they would have made an announcement in September, a very complicated transaction.”
The Royals would like to leave Kauffman Stadium and be in their new home by Opening Day of 2028. However, the team’s still looking for taxpayer dollars to help pay for it — and that will require voter approval.
“Well, there’s obviously been several teams that have moved when the owner didn’t get what he wants, and I’ve never heard John Sherman really threatening that,” Franklin said. “But it’s always a possibility that the owner will do whatever he wants when he doesn’t get what he wants.”
But Clay County Commissioner Jason Withington is skeptical of what Franklin had to say.
“Their whole ownership team is made up of Kansas City residents, Kansas City business owners,” Withington said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.
“I just have a hard time seeing those people voting to move the team. I mean, you can’t rule anything out right, but I have a hard time seeing all these Kansas City people who have built businesses in Kansas City, who have dedicated their life to improving Kansas City, saying. ‘You know what? We’re going to move the team.'”
The team is planning a $1 billion private investment to help support the entertainment district surrounding the stadium. But funding for the stadium itself would come from a proposed sales tax in whichever county the Royals select, pending voter approval.
Team leaders, however, previously said they gave a detailed term sheet to Jackson County earlier this summer and are ready to negotiate.
On Wednesday, the Royals said their site evaluation is “moving thoughtfully and directly,” including meetings with both counties.
“Leaders in both counties know a critical piece of the evaluation process will be negotiated lease terms so that the Royals, our future partner, and most importantly the voters can know what to expect,” the team said in a statement.
“We appreciate the update from the Kansas City Royals and look forward to further productive conversations ahead,” KC Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet Wednesday.
Royals leaders said Jackson and Clay counties know both the Royals and Chiefs need clarity on stadium plans in time for a sales tax vote in April 2024.
The Chiefs have said they don’t want a new stadium right now. They’re looking at a 25-year sales tax extension for an upgrade or renovation to Arrowhead Stadium. Meanwhile, the Royals are looking at a 40-year sales tax extension if they decide to stay in Jackson County.
It’s not clear if the two teams can be on the same ballot question if the Royals decide to stay in Jackson County and their sales tax extension lengths are different.