‘Baseball belongs downtown': Royals + Chiefs leaders talk stadiums

Picture of Kauffman Stadium

Like this, but insert a skyline and a lot of opinions. | Photo by andy_cz

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Baseball belongs downtown.” — Royals Chief Operating Officer Brooks Sherman


A Royals move has been an ongoing source of debate after owner John Sherman (they’re not related) expressed interest in a downtown baseball stadium — leaving Kauffman Stadium for a spot in the city’s core.

Brooks, a senior vice president, made his comment at the Downtown Council’s annual luncheon (after leaders announced the South Loop park deck).

St. Louis with Ballpark Village, San Diego, Houston [...] there’s not a single one of them that regrets putting that stadium downtown,” Sherman said.

Chiefs President Mark Donovan echoed this sentiment.

Baseball downtown is where it belongs. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and once we moved that stadium out of Three Rivers and put PNC Park there, it changed the city.”

Royals downtown stadium questions

That question sparks even more questions:

  • Where would it fit?
  • What about parking + traffic?
  • How much would this cost?
Google Maps Kauffman Stadium graphic

Might be a tight squeeze. | Photos via Google Maps

In regards to where, reports indicate the prime target is the East Villagethink: between City Hall and 71 Highway. The size of the stadium would still push the boundaries. Side-by-side screenshots using the same zoom show the current stadium’s size is several city blocks, and that’s not to mention the parking lots.

Currently, the K holds ~37,000. That number could decrease — Pendulum Studio drafted a design in 2020 that would hold 30,000.

KC loves a good tailgate, but where would we set up cornhole downtown? Open parking space would likely decrease downtown.

Other concerns include clogged traffic surrounding the Downtown Loop — we’ve all experienced jaw-clenching jams that frequent this aging mid-1900s infrastructure.

Leaders have deflected concerns by touting public transportation. Brooks said transit could “play a big role” in downtown baseball’s success.

So about that price tag? Most new stadiums are going for more than $1 billion. The KC Business Journal reported the Royals expect a public-private partnership. Downtown baseball in KC could be supplemented with its own “ancillary development” (office, retail + residential) to generate additional revenues.

Both the Royals + Chiefs stadium leases expire in 2030.

What about Arrowhead?

Chiefs President Mark Donovan said the Royals’ move could free up lots of optionsincluding the option of building a new stadium out at the Truman Sports Complex. But in response to recent reports that the Chiefs are considering a move, Mark essentially told people to chill.

The perspective I want to give everybody is, take a breath. We have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We’re doing a half-million dollar study on Arrowhead [...] What’s it going to take to get this building to 2031? And once we’ve done that study, what can we add to this building to take it 50 more years, and is that even possible? [...] At the same time, we have to have other possibilities mapped out.”

He also said the current stadium holds a lot of value to the region + the founding family.

Arrowhead is special. It’s special to this town, it’s special to this fan base, it’s special to the Hunt family.”

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