On Wednesday, Kansas Jayhawks Insider Mike Vernon posted on his Hearings Blog that GEHA Field at Arrowhead could have a new tenant next year. With the University of Kansas in the infancy stages of its Gateway Project, there is talk that an uninterrupted first phase of construction would lower costs if the Jayhawks played elsewhere next season.
With the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals engaged in a battle with Jackson County over the 1/3 cent sales tax extension, the Chiefs might be adding a part-time tenant to Arrowhead.
On Wednesday, Mike Vernon, on his popular Kansas Jayhawks Hearings Blog, indicated that some or all the Jayhawks’ football games in 2024 could be played at Arrowhead.
Here is what Mike Vernon wrote:
|“I’m Hearing Kansas football will likely play multiple games at Arrowhead Stadium next season. The Jayhawks previously planned on playing with a reduced capacity crowd of roughly 25,000 while renovating David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
|“The main benefit to playing in Kansas City is a significant increase in revenue for the Jayhawks next year. I’m Hearing four games will likely move with a chance KU shifts the entire season out of Lawrence. I’ve Heard playing all six home games at Arrowhead Stadium could add as much as $30M to KU’s bottom line. If KU keeps it to four games, I’d think the season opener and senior night would remain in Lawrence. Another benefit for the University would be a much faster construction timeline for Phase One of the stadium renovations. While KU’s stadium should be ready for the 2025 season, uninterrupted construction will reduce costs and the risk of unforeseen delays (weather issues, for example).”
Though the Kansas City Chiefs have yet to issue any statement regarding the opportunity to host four to six Kansas football games, the likelihood of this news certainly would add to the concept Chiefs President Mark Donovan envisions for Arrowhead, now and in the future, as an entertainment and sports destination.
Adding to the fact Arrowhead has already been selected to host the World Cup in 2026, adding a college football tenant in 2024 makes sense. This past year Arrowhead has hosted Stadium Concerts for Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Billy Joel, and other top-level acts. Again, even if it’s temporary, and it would be, both the Jayhawks and the Chiefs would benefit financially.
Further, if Kansas is not forced to reduce seating capacity next year, and with the Jayhawks likely a Top 15 program heading into the 2024 college football season that would be in the hunt for an NCAA Football playoff spot, this move would allow more fans to attend Big XII games against TCU, Houston, Iowa State, and Colorado. It’s possible the Jayhawks’ game against Buffalo could push Arrowhead to near capacity because of Boulder’s proximity to Kansas City.
Before Missouri chose to move to the SEC, the Hunt family convinced both the Tigers and Jayhawks to play their annual Big XII game at Arrowhead, so there is a strong likelihood that this rumor makes a lot of sense.
In the end, money will win out. The biggest hurdle will be the local Lawrence businesses that will lose significant revenue on game days, which might be the biggest obstacle.
Still, for a program on the rise and their 2024 prospects so high, a year away from Lawrence until the first phase of their new stadium with greater seating capacity in Lawrence is completed makes sense versus the prospects of reduced seating next season.