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Monday, July 15, 2024

Kansas Makes Timely Play for Chiefs Stadium: Why It Could Happen

  • State legislative leaders publicly back consideration of funding for a new Chiefs stadium.
  • A newly formed lobbying group references failed stadium renovation efforts in Missouri.
Manica

Advocates in Kansas of bringing the Chiefs across the border from Missouri see a big opportunity and have literally named their group after a football turnover, part of a rapid intensifying of recruitment efforts in the Sunflower State. 

The newly formed Scoop and Score—a nonprofit advocacy group that references a defensive fumble recovery, as well as a failed stadium funding effort in Missouri—have ramped up lobbying efforts to use state bonds to help fund a new Chiefs stadium. And it’s already finding an increasingly receptive audience as Kansas House speaker Dan Hawkins and state senate president Ty Masterson said they intend to consider such a proposal during a special legislative session scheduled to begin June 18, and they have invited the Chiefs “to weigh in” on the plan.

“The rich tradition and history of the Chiefs are beloved across the entire Kansas City region and throughout Kansas,” Hawkins and Masterson said in a joint statement. “The potential to establish a home for the Chiefs family here on the Kansas side of the state line is an opportunity that deserves a thorough conversation.”

Gaining Momentum

The quickly developing stadium recruitment efforts in Kansas follow an April defeat in Jackson County, Mo., the Chiefs’ current home, of a proposed sales tax measure to help pay for  improvements to Arrowhead Stadium. Following that vote, the Chiefs moved to separate their stadium efforts from the neighboring Royals of MLB, and renderings of an initial design concept for a Kansas-based Chiefs stadium were recently released.

But the publicly stated intent of the two legislative leaders shows there is now increasing momentum behind the push to relocate the Chiefs.

“With our strategic location, a vibrant fan base, robust economic incentives, and the exceptional tools at our disposal, we are poised to make the Kansas City Chiefs even stronger,” Hawkins and Masterson wrote in a letter to Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. 

Scoop and Score, meanwhile, has registered 20 lobbyists to represent it. 

Team Response

The Chiefs have not commented on the latest efforts emerging from Kansas, but Hunt has previously indicated a willingness to leave Arrowhead Stadium, the team’s home since 1972, if necessary. The current lease there extends to early 2031. 

“Going forward, it may make more sense for us to be in a new stadium,” Hunt said in April, adding that the facility could either be open-air or domed. 

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