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Royals to leave Kauffman Stadium, plan for $2B stadium district in Missouri

Royals New Stadium Renderings.jpg
Posted at 10:55 AM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 12:55:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman released a letter Tuesday announcing the team is planning to leave Kauffman Stadium and start exploration for a final location for a $2 billion stadium and entertainment district.

"It's becoming challenging to maintain the K," Sherman wrote in a letter released on the team's Twitter account, "A new home would be a far better investment, both for the local taxpayer dollars already supporting our facility and the Kansas City community."

The Royals have been at Kauffman Stadium since 1973. The stadium, then known as Royals Stadium, cost $70 million dollars at the time. The team celebrated its 50th season at Kauffman Stadium earlier this year.

Since the stadium was opened, the stadium, known as "The K" by baseball fans and Kansas Citians alike, has hosted two All-Star Games and four World Series showdowns.

"The K" is currently the sixth-oldest stadium in the major leagues. Only RingCentral Coliseum (Oakland), Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium have been in use longer.

The stadium previously has gone through many renovations over the years. The most recent one was between the end of the 2007 season to Opening Day in 2009, where the renovations cost $250 million.

The renovations included the installation of the stadium's iconic HD scoreboard shaped like the team's logo, which alone cost $8.3 million.

Sherman bought the team in 2019 for a sale totaling $1 billion. Sherman had previously announced back in 2021 the team had begun the process of exploring options on where to play.

“We’re in a good spot here at Truman Sports Complex, but we need to start thinking about our plans for our stadium over the next five to 10 years,” Sherman said at the time.

The team's lease is due to expire in 2031. However, the team has previously said they would like the stadium to open before the end of the lease.

According to a statement by the Royals, they will entertain offers for a new site, which could include several sites near and around downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Some sites that have been mentioned include a downtown ballpark.

Sherman also said back in 2021, he anticipated the future home of the Royals to be a public-private partnership.

Jackson County executive Frank White weighed in on the announcement through a statement.

Tonight, with the rest of our community, I had an opportunity to read the open letter from Royals Owner John Sherman. From the moment I met Mr. Sherman, I was impressed with his honesty, thoughtfulness and love for Kansas City and it is my hope that our residents, many of whom have not met Mr. Sherman personally, get those same feelings through his written words and recognize his commitment to our heartland hometown, beloved baseball team and storied stadium.

I truly believe there is no one who loves Kauffman Stadium more than I do. Before playing there, I got a job working on the upper deck of the facility to support my family. I never imagined that Ewing Kauffman would bless me with the opportunity that would change my life forever. Because of him, a kid who picked cotton in Mississippi lived his professional baseball dream under lights at Kauffman Stadium for 18 years. Like the thousands of fans who call it home, the memories there are priceless.

Now as County Executive, I am extremely proud to lead a county that is home to two of the greatest stadiums in professional sports. It is our goal to keep them both in Jackson County for decades to come, while protecting the interests of our residents and ensuring that their voices are the most important in this discussion.

I look forward to continuing to work with all parties involved, but we have a long way to go before any decisions are made on a downtown stadium. Specifically, I am interested in hearing more about Mr. Sherman’s proposal in terms of location, cost, funding sources and specific new and added benefits to the community.
Frank White, Jackson County executive

Wilson Truong at KSHB first reported this story.