Should Kansas City Build the Royals a New Stadium?


Back in November, the Royals announced their plan to relocate to a new stadium downtown. They envision a new “ballpark district” to accompany a new location, and Royals owner John Sherman believes that, “[a] new home would be a far better investment, both for local taxpayer dollars already supporting our facility, and for the Kansas City community.” Sherman and his team came to this conclusion after revealing that Kauffman’s lease would be up at the end of the decade, adding that the stadium would be 60 years old and is already falling apart. 

The idea of investing in a new stadium and entertainment area doesn’t sound too bad, but when you consider it’s for one of the worst teams in baseball, things start to break down. Since their historic, World-Series run in 2015, the Royals haven’t been great. In fact, they finished the 2022 season last in the AL Central with a 65-97 record. Even now as the 2023 season starts, the Royals are continuing their negative record they’ve had since the 2016 season. 

So, why would Sherman want to reward his losing team with a new stadium and better location? As he and Mayor Quinton Lucas of Kansas City imagine, the project would potentially benefit all of the surrounding metro area. They believe that the two billion dollar investment would allow for families and visitors to find comfort in the new district by enjoying great local restaurants and a baseball game right inside. The issue with this dream is that in order to have an investment be successful long term, you need some sort of factor to pull consumers in. Major Q and Sherman believe this factor to be the Royals, but with their losing streak the team just isn’t powerful enough to help the district be sustainable. Sure the first games may be great, maybe even the first season will sell out, but once people realize that a new fancy stadium doesn’t make the team any better, people won’t come back. 

A major concern with the new stadium for locals is the effect it will have on transportation. The current location of Kauffemen allows for easy access from the highway and other areas for visitors to enter through. Plus, since it’s planted right next to Arrowhead, the parking spans far enough that if the team ever decides to win again, Royals fans won’t have to be worried about finding somewhere to park. Even with a full lot, space wouldn’t be an issue. Back in 2015, when the Royals were having their best season of my life, tailgating was still possible even if a sea of cars was present. There is no place downtown that could reflect that same appeal without having to tear down buildings, roads, parks, or damage an untouched area. In addition to the parking lot disaster, transportation would be doomed. Kansas City doesn’t have a well rounded public transportation system, and the city couldn’t handle a constant jam near downtown. There is no place, other than its current location, that doesn’t add a major issue for locals and visitors and their cars alike.  

It’s no secret that Kauffman stadium is outdated. The place hasn’t been renovated since early 2010, and the bowl itself hasn’t been touched since the 90s. However, before jumping to the solution of spending billions of dollars on a team that could barely bring in a quarter of a billion in revenue last year, maybe Sherman should figure out how to bring in more money to sign better players. 

In order to move forward with baseball and life in Kansas City, those in charge need to work together to prioritize city projects first, and flashy projects last. For example, the “South Link Loop” plans where a new park would be built to connect the crossroads and downtown, is a fantastic idea. The park would be a gathering place for everyone, including animals, and would allow for environmental aspects to be added into the concrete city life. Additionally, renovating Kauffmen stadium (a full renovation which would include the bowl of the ballpark) benefits the players by having a nice place to play, the board of directors for the Royals by getting a new looking stadium, and the people of Kansas City and surrounding areas who love Kauffmen stadium. As a place with so many memories for so many people, the Royals stadium will always have at least one spectator visiting. If Sherman wants to increase revenue and reestablish Kansas City as a great place for baseball, then investing in the fans’ wants and needs would surely top any short term solution for a long term team.

Categories: Opinion, Sports

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