KC Royals 'need to start thinking' about a new stadium, possibly downtown, owner says

Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Baseball

The idea of a new downtown baseball stadium for the Kansas City Royals gained the owner’s voice on Tuesday.

John Sherman, the Royals’ primary owner, said in a news conference that the Royals “need to start thinking about our plans for a stadium over the next five to 10 years.

“Wherever we play, the criteria will be that the process will result in meaningful community impact that is real and measurable. It will result in economic growth and economic activity that benefits this region also in a real and measurable way.”

Left unanswered was a specific location of a new stadium. But Sherman provided this clue:

“We need to have a positive impact in the quality of life for our citizens in Kansas City with a particular focus on those underrepresented parts of our community.

“We’re a little beyond just listening to others’ ideas. We are conducting an internal process to help us evaluate our options for where we play, and one of those options is to play downtown baseball.”

The Royals previously have addressed that by funding the Urban Youth Academy and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the 18th and Vine entertainment district. Royals general manager Dayton Moore, who on Tuesday was promoted to president of baseball operations, helped develop the academy to promote youth baseball.


Sherman said he expects taxpayers would be involved in funding a new stadium. In 2006, Jackson County voters approved a 0.375% sales tax for improvements to Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums. Work on Kauffman Stadium, which included a restaurant in right field, the outfield kids’ area, four new gates, and the Crown Vision scoreboard, began after the 2007 season and was completed by Opening Day in 2009.

As part of the renovations, the Royals and Chiefs extended their leases to 2031.

“Taxpayers are involved today the way this stadium and the renovation was financed,” Sherman said. “I would anticipate that again it would be a public-private partnership. How that’s structured I think that’s part of what we’ll find out in our process.”

Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973 as Royals Stadium and was part of the revolutionary Truman Sports Complex, sharing the parking lot with Arrowhead, home of the Chiefs.

Before then, the Royals debuted as an expansion franchise in 1969 and played their first four seasons at Municipal Stadium at 22nd and Brooklyn.

Sherman spoke at a press conference at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday that was conducted via zoom and served two purposes. Moore, who became the Royals’ general manager in 2006, was introduced as the team’s president of baseball operations. Assistant GM JJ Picollo, was elevated to Moore’s position.

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