July 18, 2024

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Kansas proceeds with plan to pay for Chiefs’ stadium

2 min read

Kansas is making a serious run at becoming the new home for the reigning Super Bowl champions with legislators approving a plan Tuesday to lure the Chiefs and Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals away from Missouri.

Bipartisan legislative supermajorities OK’d the measure to authorize state bonds to help finance new stadiums and practice facilities for both teams on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area of 2.3 million residents, which is split by the border with Missouri. Three Super Bowl victories in five years — and player Travis Kelce’s romance with pop icon Taylor Swift — have made the Chiefs perhaps the area’s most celebrated civic asset.

The plan from the Republican-controlled Legislature goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. While she stopped short of promising to sign it, she said in a statement that “Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse.”

Both the Chiefs and the Royals said they look forward to considering Kansas options. The lease on the Missouri complex with their side-by-side stadiums runs through January 2031, but both have said they already should have been planning for the future.

“We’re excited about what happened here today,” Korb Maxwell, an attorney for the Chiefs who lives on the Kansas side, said at the Statehouse after the bill cleared the Legislature. “This is incredibly real.”

Voters and economists aren’t sold

The approval capped a two-month push to capitalize on the refusal in April by voters on the Missouri side to continue a local sales tax used to finance the upkeep of the teams’ stadiums.

Backers of the plan brushed aside decades of research by economists concluding that government subsidies for professional sports stadiums are not worth the cost. They also overcame criticism that lawmakers were moving too quickly.

A spokeswoman for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. But in Kansas…

John Hanna, The Associated Press

2024-06-19 15:20:20

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