A new rumor gives a tickle that there is a possibility for the KC Royals to build a brand new downtown stadium if they desire.
This certainly is not the first time the KC Royals have been associated with a move from their home since 1973 to a more glitzy, redone downtown area. With the T-Mobile Center a staple near the Power & Light District since 2007, much of the area has been upgraded and is a hub for entertainment and dining.
What has sparked the latest whispers is a report that the Kansas City Star will abandon its home, a two-block glass mammoth building that faces the T-Mobile Center across I-670. A principal of the company that owns the building dropped a hint it could be a future home of the Royals. That location would put the two big sporting event venues within a short walk of each other.
"“It could be the possible new Royals stadium – tear down the building, buy our property, build across the highway,” she said. “Then we have the location for the Crossroads downtown, the walking paths that everybody in Kansas City says they want, and it would connect the Crossroads and the Power & Light [District] with the Sprint Center.” – Rosana Privitera Biondo, Ambassador Hospitality – kcur.org"
Some push back would be that despite its age, Kauffman Stadium has held up very well. It was renovated between 2007-2009 and is still one of the prettiest ballparks in the league with Crown Vision and the water features dominating beyond the outfield walls.
The changes to the “K” were the result of taxpayers in Jackson County approving a tax increase to help modernize the park. With that came an extension of the lease until 2031. New owner John Sherman has expressed interest in moving the team, however, so the rumors will continue to flow.
The big questions now would be what kind of mood taxpayers in the Kansas City metro area are in now with the COVID crisis still gripping the country. The economy is still teetering and any new restrictions will make it harder for people to keep their jobs and governments to meet their budgets. Also, how much would the KC Royals be willing to chip in to get the stadium built?
Although the expiration of the lease is not for another decade, talks about the potential new park would need to get in gear soon as it could take years to get it sorted out. Kansas Citians have been down this path before and are wise to be skeptical of any rumors, but it is worth seeing what comes about with such a large piece of real estate possibly becoming available.
Many great moments have occurred in the almost 50-year history of Royals/Kauffman Stadium. While all good things must come to an end, there is a lot of sentimental value in the current ballpark.