July 21, 2024

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Kansas City Chiefs new stadium plan heads for vote in legislature

2 min read

A 170-year-old rivalry is flaring up as Kansas lawmakers try to snatch the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs away from Missouri even though economists long ago concluded subsidizing pro sports isn’t worth the cost.

The Kansas Legislature’s top leaders endorsed helping the Chiefs and professional baseball’s Kansas City Royals finance new stadiums in Kansas ahead of a special session set to convene Tuesday. The plan would authorize state bonds for stadium construction and pay them off with revenues from sports betting, the Kansas Lottery and additional tax dollars generated in and around the new venues.

The states’ border runs through the metropolitan area of about 2.3 million people, and the teams would move only about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west.

Decades of research have concluded a pro sports franchise doesn’t boost a local economy much, if any, because it mostly captures existing spending from other places in the same community. But for Kansas officials, spending would at least leave Missouri and come to Kansas, and one-upping Missouri has its own allure.

“I’ve wanted to see the Chiefs in Kansas my whole life, but I hope we can do it in a way that is enriching for these communities, rather than creating additional burdens for them,” said state Rep. Jason Probst, a Democrat from central Kansas.

The rivalry between Kansas and Missouri can be traced as far back as the lead-up to the Civil War, before Kansas was even a state. People from Missouri came from the east, hoping in vain to create another slave state like their own. Both sides looted, burned and killed across the border.

There also was a century-long sports rivalry between the University of Kansas and University of Missouri. And for years the two states burned through hundreds of millions of dollars to lure businesses to one side of the border or the other in the pursuit of jobs. They called an uneasy truce in 2019.

Missouri officials are pledging to…

John Hanna, The Associated Press

2024-06-15 19:16:50

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