Jackson County is in a serious budget crisis and they are looking at every way to make up for their growing deficit. The Royals and Chiefs could potentially have their leases broken because of the financial woes in the county.
Thursday, Mayor Mark Funkhouser put forward his plan, which includes eliminating nearly $2 million the city gives each year to the Truman Sports Complex.
“This came with no notice to us. We were unaware that this was even going to be an issue,” Sanders said in a KMBZ radio interview. “The money would be the violation. But the fact that we would have violated a substantive provision would mean those leases are now gone … We would be on a tightrope or a high wire with no safety net.”Sanders said if the city pulls its $2 million annual contribution, it would break the lease and leave the city with no written guarantee keeping the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City for the long term.”The teams would then be, to use the sports phrase, free agents to do whatever they wanted to do. Re-negotiate the deal or to not honor any of the provisions of the lease they did not want to honor,” Sanders told KMBC’s Martin Augustine.“This came with no notice to us. We were unaware that this was even going to be an issue,” Sanders said in a radio interview. “Those leases are now gone. … We would be on a tightrope or a high wire with no safety net.”
Even if the city decides to eliminate the $2 million the Royals and Chiefs would still stay for awhile to play in their newly renovated stadiums. Plus another deal could always be revisited when the economy is stronger (if that ever happens).
“I don’t think it would jeopardize leases,” Funkhouser said. “We’re trying to focus on services that directly matter to Kansas Citians. For example, our city services, basic services like police. That is a core function. Operating a sports venue is not.”
Sanders said he believes the issue will eventually be worked out. He called the Royals and Chiefs “good civic partners.”A Royals representative said team officials are just learning about the issue, and it’s too early to comment.KMBC was unable to get a comment from a Chiefs representative.