There’s a possibility the Kansas City Royals could wind up in a new downtown stadium sometime in the future. Here’s why that idea—especially the way things are now—wouldn’t go over well.
The Kansas City Star recently reported that Kansas City funded a study for a downtown stadium. They selected four sites that could possibly work downtown. The Kansas City Royals are set to stay in Kauffman Stadium until 2030, but that doesn’t mean this still couldn’t happen somewhere down the line.
While I think a downtown stadium is a great idea for a baseball team, it may not be a good fit for Kansas City.
Downtown stadiums are great. They also only work in certain areas. Cities such as Chicago, New York and Boston—to name a few—have stadiums located downtown. The difference between those cities and Kansas City is the transportation systems.
The people of Kansas City prefer to drive around town. Most people do not walk around the city except for in a few places, but even then, we drive to get there. People in Chicago, New York and Boston often walk or take their version of the metro to get where they need to go to, including baseball games.
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The transportation culture doesn’t support a downtown stadium. As I previously mentioned, Kansas Citians drive to where they need to go. For the most part, people going to Kansas City Royals games do not use the metro system. In order for the Royals to get support for a downtown stadium, a mindset shift would need to occur. Kansas City would have to embrace the transit system.
In regards to traffic, Kansas City is one of the best places to drive throughout the country. The parking situation could be improved but still is not bad. By adding a stadium downtown, the parking situation would likely get worse.
If Kansas City was to add a downtown baseball stadium, the city would need to continue to improve the mass transit system. This would be the best way to counter the parking issues. While buses currently take fans out to The K now, there would have to be a greater effort to bring fans to the new stadium.
Look, I love Kauffman Stadium and the history it holds for Kansas City. I would also hate to see the Kansas City Royals call another stadium home. But a downtown stadium would be good for Kansas City.
Right now, if you want to grab food or do something before or after the game, your options consist of what is nearby the stadium. This would allow fans to keep the party going in local venues downtown.
Moving the team downtown would be good for Kansas City, but its success hinges on whether or not the transit system can support it—and if Kansas City Royals fans are willing to use it.
What do you think? Should the Kansas City Royals move to downtown or stay at Kauffman Stadium?