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New stadium or Arrowhead Stadium development in Chiefs’ future?

With the future of the Truman Sports Complex in play, we could see the Kansas City Chiefs move to a new Kansas stadium–or perhaps spearhead potential Arrowhead Stadium development.

We are talking about some very speculative stuff here, to be sure. There have been some hints laid recently suggesting neither the Chiefs or the Kansas City Royals are totally committed long-term to the Truman Sports Complex. The complex features two historic sports venues in the form of Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium, and both have been upgraded in recent years to meet the needs of their main tenants. Their leases end in 2031.

But the trend both in the NFL and Major League Baseball is to leverage sports franchises as centerpieces of larger developments, like The Battery in Atlanta or Titletown in Green Bay. (Sadly, it doesn’t appear the Buffalo Bills will take the same approach.) Economic development never developed around Truman Sports Complex, but it’s beginning to be clear both teams are looking for such a plan.

One scenario, first reported by The Ringer’s Kevin Clark, has the Chiefs potentially looking at a new stadium in Kansas, perhaps around the suburban Legends area where the MLS Sporting KC and American Association’s Kansas City Monarchs play. It’s not exactly clear whether we’re all responding to a comment from Chiefs president Mark Donovan about the team being approached by developers, whether there have been anything other than some preliminary chats, or whether the Chiefs are serious about determining a long-term plan. Presumably the Chiefs would be involved in some sort of development play should a Kansas move occur.

Another scenario has the Chiefs staying in Arrowhead Stadium should the Royals pursue their own economic-development plan at a new downtown ballpark. Chairman and CEO John Sherman confirmed the team is looking at four potential downtown sites for development and a new ballpark, something that many with the team feel is an inevitability. Sherman’s already said a new ballpark will be a public-private partnership.

One potential development that could soften the impact of the Royals moving away from the Truman Sports Complex would be working with the Chiefs on an economic-development plan for the 220-acre complex. Of course, if the Royals were to receive some sort of package for a new downtown stadium, it’s inevitable the Chiefs would want something equivalent–assuming they stay in the state, that is. A stadium village surrounding Arrowhead Stadium may be the thing.

So there’s been plenty percolating under the surface, to be sure. The next 12-24 months for both teams should be interesting, to be sure.

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August Publications