Clay County Appears Out of KC Royals’ Stadium Hunt

The Kansas City Royals appear unlikely to build their new stadium in North Kansas City.

In mid-January, the Royals and Kansas City Chiefs released a joint statement committing the two teams staying in Jackson County, with the Chiefs remaining at Arrowhead and the Royals moving downtown. The decision was contingent on approval of a sales tax extension in April. 

The tax extension would help the Chiefs renovate Arrowhead Stadium and help with the Royals’ new stadium in downtown Kansas City. At press time, Jackson County Executive Frank White had vetoed scheduling the ballot measure with the support of four legislators. Although the final chapter has yet to be written, the downtown commitment appears final.

The process was not a major loss for Clay County, however. Several county leaders said the inclusion of the North Kansas City site was a significant gain for the region by displaying some of its strengths to a metro audience. 

The story began in early 2023 when the Royals proposed a new downtown stadium and a surrounding ballpark entertainment district, with a price tag of approximately $2 billion. Eventually, the club proposed 14 possible locations, with one located in North Kansas City and the remainder in downtown Kansas City.

The Royals have also promised $200 million in economic benefits and said they would pay for insurance coverage that is now paid by the county, saving the county $80-100 million through the 40-year leases. 

Where the Royals will move is still unannounced, at least publicly. In August, the Royals reduced the original 14 candidate locations to two, the East Village site in downtown and the North Kansas City site, saying they would announce a decision by the end of September. That period passed and few details have been provided, but now a formerly discarded location centered on the former Kansas City Star building at 16th and Oak is being promoted. 

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