SOURCE - After 50 years of playing at the famed Kauffman Stadium, the Kansas City Royals announced their intentions to move to a new stadium. In an open letter, principal owner John Sherman updated the fanbase about the team’s ongoing search for venues across Kansas City.
Sherman addressed the idea of renovating Kauffman Stadium, but the ballpark would need an extensive face-lift which would cost much more than building a new ballpark.
The new project is estimated to cost $2 billion, which would be the most expensive private-public development project in the city’s history. Sherman added the new venture would not increase taxes to the Jackson County taxpayers and would bring in $60 million in new tax revenue.
I'm no math whiz but how the fuck are you going to raise $2 billion with public money picking up some (most?) of the bill and not raise taxes?
I don't have an issue with the Royals wanting a new stadium. The Royals have been at Kaufman Stadium since 1972 (they've only been a team since 1969!) and it's currently the 6th oldest stadium in baseball. It's 50 years old.
You want a new stadium, go for it. My issue is depending on public money to get it done. Especially as we appear to heading right into a recession. The timing on this isn't great.
The current owner of the Royals is John Sherman. He bought the team in 2019 and I don't know a ton about him. He was the founder of Inergy which is a propane retailer. He's also from Kansas City so I don't think he'd use the stadium as leverage to try to move elsewhere like an Oakland A's situation.
Any stadium change is years away. Their current lease on Kaufman Stadium doesn't end until 2030. Also, that open letter gives no details on how much money they are looking for from the public. All we know is that they have their hand out.
I love sports and especially baseball an awful lot. But to expect an entire city to pay for a new stadium for something they may not care about under the guise of new hotels and restaurants seems pretty unfair.
Here's a study done by Berkeley who says it's not a wise investment. They use the Falcons new stadium as an example which has the same price tag as the new Royals Stadium is estimated to have:
SOURCE - Unfortunately, the subsidies have not created the local impact that they promised. To understand why, let’s consider the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium, which cost $2 billion for construction—$700 million of which was paid by local taxpayers. While proponents may talk about a multiplier effect, several theoretical and empirical studies of local economic impact of stadiums have shown that beliefs that stadiums have an impact that matches the amount of money that residents pay are largely unfounded. The average stadium generates $145 million per year, but none of this revenue goes back into the community. As such, the prevalent idea among team owners of “socializing the costs and privatizing the profits” is harmful and unfair to people who are forced to pay for a stadium that will not help them.
The final issue some people have in Kansas City is it will split up Kaufman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium which play at the same complex. I'll defend the Royals here and say a downtown stadium is a much better experience and this is a change they should embrace. Being able to get a nice dinner before the game and having fun bars to hit afterwards is much more fun then being in some giant complex embraced by parking lots. Of course, downtown parking might be another thing John Sherman is going to have to sell to the masses.