KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The sports complex for the Kansas City Royals lease is up in 10 years and they aren’t waiting to go house hunting.
The Royals new ownership revealed it is launching a review of future stadium options. Downtown is a front runner.
Principal owner John Sherman unveiled the effort with an eye on benefiting the region and perhaps even underrepresented areas.
But some Royals fans are hoping downtown isn’t a location for the team.
Some fans said the traffic is already bad and would spoil the charm of tailgating at the Truman Sports Complex.
“While I’d love to have the Royals here, I would not like the traffic of the crowds,” Kim Mueller, a Royals fan said.
“We got the greatest ballpark in the area, the tailgating is great out there, getting in and out is convenient, why would we come?” Chuck Hansuld, a Royals fan said. “We can’t even drive with no ball game down here.”
Sherman said the team is conducting an internal process on where the team plays ahead of the club’s lease in 2031.
If it points to downtown baseball, if we’re going to make a move, we’d have to do it prior to that,” Sherman said. “We’re also working with the Chiefs and Jackson County but no I wouldn’t say there’s a drop dead date.”
Sherman said there are many things to consider when it comes to a new home for the Royals like meaningful community impact, economic growth and quality of life for people in this region..
“Wherever we play it’ll meet that criteria and it’s got to mean great things for Kansas City,” Sherman said.
Sherman said taxpayers would be involved in this development and called it a public-private partnership.
On the other hand, some Royals fans said they won’t be attending games often if downtown ends up being the new location.
Jackson County Executive, Frank White Jr. sent a statement on the Royals’ announcement.
“Before making it to the major leagues, I got a job to support my family during the offseason helping to build what is now known as Kauffman Stadium. I can still remember working on the upper deck of the unfinished stadium while looking down on the field and dreaming that I would one day be lucky enough to play in this amazing stadium in my own hometown. Not only did that dream come true, but I was lucky enough to call Kauffman Stadium home for my entire 18-year career. I have also been grateful to see my number retired and a statue built in my honor. I truly believe there is no one who loves this nearly 50-year-old stadium, and the fans that call it home, more than I do.”
“Now as County Executive, I am extremely proud to lead a county that is home to two of the greatest stadiums in professional sports. As I have said from day one, we have a responsibility to ensure the County is using the tax dollars entrusted to us by our residents as effectively and efficiently as possible. Part of that responsibility is being open to opportunities to improve the impact our investments are making in the community, including a potential downtown stadium.“
“Finally, I have been truly impressed by the thoughtful approach that John Sherman and other members of the Royals’ ownership group are taking. During our discussions, Mr. Sherman has made it clear that any decisions the team makes will be driven by the impact they will have on our community, in particular areas that have been historically underserved.”