The Kansas City Royals have unveiled plans for potential replacement locations for the aging Kauffman Stadium, presenting two distinct options as they approach a decision next month. The team faces a significant choice between the two proposed sites.
The first location, known as the East Village, features a ballpark at the center of a 27-acre development situated close to the thriving Power & Light District and the existing T-Mobile Center. The second location spans 90 acres across the Missouri River in Clay County, providing the Royals more flexibility to develop commercial and residential properties.
Both plans were crafted by Populous, a prominent sports architecture firm based in Kansas City that has designed numerous stadiums across Major League Baseball and other sports.
The decision to move from Kauffman Stadium was announced by the Royals about two years ago, but determining the way forward has been a gradual process due to the complexities of constructing a $2 billion-plus ballpark and entertainment district.
The Royals have historically shared sales tax revenue from Jackson County with the Kansas City Chiefs for the upkeep of Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium. While the Royals intend to relocate, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt prefers to renovate Arrowhead Stadium. The teams are both bound by a lease with Jackson County until 2031, which adds further intricacies to the decision.
Regardless of the chosen site, Brooks Sherman, the Royals’ president of business operations, stated that the team is prepared to invest around $1 billion in private funds into the project. The goal is to open the new stadium for the 2028 season.
The downtown site has been viewed as the frontrunner due to its commercial potential, aligning with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s emphasis on generating revenue for small-market teams to stay competitive. The proposed stadium design incorporates elements reminiscent of Kauffman Stadium, including its iconic fountains.
The North Kansas City location seeks to revitalize a once-industrial neighborhood, with a ballpark designed to blend into the existing surroundings. While each site has its advantages, the Royals are working with political and business leaders and gathering input from fans to make their final decision by late September.