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Missouri Steps Up Efforts to Keep Chiefs, Royals From Moving to Kansas

  • Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is getting personally involved in efforts to retain the two local pro teams.
  • The revived efforts closely follow legislative approval in Kansas of bonding to help build new stadiums.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City–area border war that many officials in the area were hoping to avoid is heating up as Missouri is heightening its efforts to retain the NFL’s Chiefs and MLB’s Royals in the wake of new legislation from Kansas.

Less than three weeks after the Kansas legislature approved bonding to help build new stadiums for the two teams, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (above) met this week with key figures including Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County, Mo., county executive Frank White Jr. about stepping up their efforts to retain the Chiefs and Royals. Senior officials for both teams, meanwhile, held separate sessions with other Missouri leaders, including House majority leader Jonathan Patterson.

“We just need to have a plan in place and to move forward, and I think there’s a real opportunity to do that,” Parson said.

Patterson went even further, telling The Kansas City Star that “I do think, before all this is said and done, Jackson County is going to have another vote” on public funding for facilities for the Chiefs and Royals.

Such a move would represent returning to the same voters who soundly rejected a sales tax measure for stadium funding back in April. 

Different Strategies

As expected, the revived Missouri consideration of stadium funding for the two teams is based in part on evaluating the needs of the Chiefs and Royals as separately as possible. In particular, the Royals’ situation would likely need to be reconsidered, as a prior ballpark plan for Kansas City’s Crossroads neighborhood ran into local opposition beyond the broader voter concerns about the funding.

“The Royals are going to have to figure out what it is they want to do, and what that site selection [is],” Parson said. “Site selection for the Royals is a big issue.”

White, meanwhile, remains another obstacle. The former Royals star second baseman, who has been estranged from the team for many years, has renewed his prior objections about supporting the two teams with a large outlay of public dollars.

“I made it clear to Gov. Parson—as I have to the public before, during, and after the recent stadium sales tax campaign—that before I can support any new proposal, it must offer clear and significant benefits to the taxpayers of Jackson County,” White said. “Maintaining the current financial arrangement is not in the best interest of Jackson County and its residents.”

Tough Talk?

Despite the rival push from across the border, Parson joked he has plenty of time to complete a stadium deal with the teams before the end of his term in January. 

“I’m not too worried about Kansas at this point. I’ve got six months. How much more time do you need?” he quipped.

More seriously, he added that “it’s a big business deal. It’s a big adventure for what we’re trying to do, but … we’re going to try to compete, and we will.”

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