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The Yellow Brick Road is Calling the Chiefs

The best way to describe chaos is when you mix Politics and Sports. Ever since the April 2nd ballot boxes were stuffed with no votes to extend the 1/3 cent Stadium Tax, it was clear the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals would split up, ending a multi-decade relationship that was inevitable from the start.

Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt spoke to the media during draft weekend. He was happy to discuss the failed vote in Jackson County and his thoughts about upgrading GEHA Field at Arrowhead or building a new stadium that could include a dome outside of Jackson County. At the end of the conversation, he leaned toward a new facility.

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Once, he said that the Kansas Governor, Laura Kelly, sounded the alarm with state and city governments, hoping to prepare a plan to bring the Chiefs to Kansas City, Kansas. That doesn’t mean the Kansas City Royals won’t get invited to the City of Oz, but the Super Bowl Champions will get the first wave of big money.

Since the vote failed in Jackson County in April, the city, the county, and the two sports teams have not spoken. If the phone rings, it’s not being answered. At least for now, the Chiefs and Royals are done with Jackson County. Can that change? Sure, if the county, city, and state are willing to financially match the process in Wyandotte County.

As the question lingered for Sports fans of both franchises, David Manica, with Manica Design, a local Kansas City Architect, posted a video and photos of his idea for a new Chiefs Stadium experience on the Kansas side.

It included a dome, perhaps a retractable stadium, a state-of-the-art practice facility with all the player amenities, a theater, likely a Chiefs Hall of Fame building, shops, condos, and restaurants attached to the property, and perhaps a new Casino.

In other words, it’s a whopper of a complex, likely in the $3.5 – 4.5 billion range. That’s a lot of iron, as my grandfather used to say when talking about piles of money. To get this done, it’ll take a lot of piles of cash to build a new Arrowhead experience.

The images were first leaked to the Kansas Legislators in session on Tuesday, during which time they discussed using STAR bonds to finance their dream of luring the Chiefs and Royals.

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Thus, the timing of Tuesday’s leaked renderings and the new video drop on social media early Wednesday morning were no accident. Technically, it’s on the shelf since the legislators did not submit the Star Bond Proposal on Tuesday. However, reports on Wednesday evening suggest a special session is expected to be called sometime in the future because of the overwhelming support from all political levels of government that are excited about the STAR bond proposal.

If it passes the legislators, it must still be approved by the Kansas Senate. With the Governor driving this train, I can’t see any real opposition to the STAR Bond proposal. The issue is the financial number that will be given to the Chiefs and, if there’s anything left over, what to give the Royals.

There are many ways to spin this, but I can’t see a scenario where the Chiefs don’t move to Kansas.

Still, Missouri won’t go quietly, but let’s be honest, they don’t have the money to match anything Wyandotte County offers the Chiefs or Royals. Still, Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca has proposed a new stadium tax for the Chiefs only. Per his spin, voters were not interested in the baseball team, just the football team.

I’m paraphrasing, but his view couldn’t be more off-base. The bottom line is that most voters liked the idea of a downtown baseball park to revitalize the area but were underwhelmed by the Chiefs stadium upgrades.

I’m convinced that had the reverse happened, the Royals would have secured the tax and started the process to move downtown. I say that because I think it was investable that the Chiefs would end up on the Kansas side with a cathedral that Clark Hunt and Patrick Mahomes built.

Still, Frank White made it clear Wednesday that, per county statutes, the stadium re-tax proposal can’t be placed on the ballot for 12 months. That means Abarca’s plan has already failed. Frank White has apparent veto power, and this is nothing but political theatre.

The Manica design resembles the Patriots Place concept the Kraft family built in Foxboro for the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, during the Tom Brady Super Bowl era. They built a new stadium, making it a year-round destination with many family options. The Chiefs should do the same thing in Kansas City, Kansas.

The Royals can still get in on the action, mainly because they’ve already committed $1.3 Billion in private money to build a stadium downtown, so legislators could increase the STAR Bond proposal to specify money for both teams.

That would mean both franchises would be in the same area, but I doubt either would object if the STAR bonds cover most of the costs. If that happens, the Chiefs’ three major sports franchises would be in Kansas City; the Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting KC.

If that happens, credit Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, who saw the door crack open this week and ran through it with money and votes.

Times are changing!

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