MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed his support for a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, praising both potential sites near downtown Kansas City as “unbelievably high quality” for revenue-generating, multi-use districts essential for small-market teams to remain competitive.
Speaking at the Urban Youth Academy alongside Royals chairman John Sherman and Bob Kendrick, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Manfred highlighted the opportunity a new stadium presents for both the community and the Royals. The team is set to decide in September whether to build a replacement for Kauffman Stadium in the East Village area near T-Mobile Center and the Power & Light District, or across the Missouri River in Clay County, which offers more land for a potentially larger baseball village.
Manfred emphasized the economic advantages of new facilities, stating that they provide revenue-generation opportunities that are not available in older ballparks. He cited the revitalization and increased revenue driven by new stadiums for other teams, such as the Nationals and Braves, as examples of the positive impact a new stadium can have on a city.
The Royals’ new ballpark project is expected to cost around $2 billion, with most of the funding coming from private sources. A portion of the money may come from the renewal of a sales tax used for Kauffman Stadium upkeep. The choice of location will also impact funding options and may require different arrangements.
Regardless of the chosen site, Sherman anticipates that the new stadium will take about three years to complete, potentially opening for the 2027 or 2028 season. He emphasized the economic benefits the project could bring to the region, including job creation and increased economic output.
The decision to build a new stadium aligns with the larger development and revitalization efforts in the Kansas City region, including a new airport, the upcoming World Cup in 2026, a women’s soccer stadium, and other projects.
Manfred’s endorsement underscores the potential of a new stadium to drive growth and vibrancy in the Kansas City community, and both the Royals and local officials are optimistic about the positive impact it could have on the city’s future.