All the options on the table for the Kansas City Chiefs’ future home

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An aerial view of the Truman Sports Complex with Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums.

A top Kansas City Chiefs executive says the team has “a long way to go” before deciding to stay at legendary Arrowhead Stadium.

Chiefs chairman Mark Donovan said the team was willing to stay in Arrowhead, build a new stadium near the current one, or move elsewhere.

“All of those things are on the table,” he said at the annual Downtown Council luncheon on Friday.

At an NFL owners’ meeting in Florida earlier this month, Donovan made waves when he revealed the team was considering locations to build a new stadium in Kansas.

But at a downtown ballroom on Friday, Donovan asked the community to be patient as the team explores its future.

“The perspective I want to give everyone is this: breathe. We have a lot of work to do,” he said.

Donovan said the NFL franchise is well aware that its decision will affect the club and the community for the next 50 years or more – a point President and CEO Clark Hunt recently made to team leaders, said he declared.

The Chiefs are currently funding a $500,000 study into Arrowhead’s condition. This study will explore what needs to be done to secure the stadium through 2031, when the team’s lease with Jackson County is due to expire.

“So once we have this study, what could be added to this building to make it last another 50 years?” he said. “And is that even possible? And how much does that cost ? And what are the pros and cons?

Donovan characterized a decision as a way out.

But the team president also said the Chiefs need to “prepare” and explore alternatives in case they determine Arrowhead is not suitable going forward.

“We have to look, does it make sense to build something new? But you can’t even have this discussion and be really serious until you know what you’ve got. And it will take time. »

Donovan spoke at a panel comprised of executives from the Chiefs, Royals, Sporting KC and Kansas City Current. He described Arrowhead as a “to-do list” destination for sports fans across the country and said its iconic status will be a big factor in determining the team’s future.

“Arrowhead is special,” he said.

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Chiefs Chairman Mark Donovan

Of course, Friday’s discussion also touched on the future of the Kansas City Royals, who have been considering a move to a downtown stadium for months. It’s a decision that the Downtown Council, an interest group made up of local residents and businesses, has publicly defended.

Even the Chiefs chairman has weighed in on the matter.

Donovan grew up in Pittsburgh and touted the benefits of the Pittsburgh Pirates PNC Park, which opened downtown in 2001.

“That’s not a statement from the Chiefs, it’s a statement from Mark Donovan: downtown baseball is where it belongs,” Donovan said to applause. “I’m a big fan of what they’re doing, not just because it frees up more options around Arrowhead.”

The Royals appear to be more advanced in developing plans to leave the Truman Sports Complex, although the team has provided few details to the public.

And relocating the Royals could help the Chiefs make their own decision: demolishing Kauffman Stadium would give the Chiefs the chance to build an entirely new stadium while playing Arrowhead during construction. Or, the site could provide the Chiefs with more space for fan parking and ancillary features such as bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Brooks Sherman, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Royals, said the team continues to evaluate a potential move downtown.

“We believe baseball belongs downtown,” said Sherman, who is unrelated to majority team owner John Sherman.

Sherman said a downtown stadium could bring new jobs to the area and help create safe, walkable neighborhoods.

As the team owner previously said, he said a new stadium would benefit underrepresented populations, although he didn’t specify how.

“We think it only benefits the community,” Sherman said. “And it’s for us first. This should benefit the whole community. »

He pointed to other cities like San Diego, Houston and St. Louis that have built stadiums in or around their downtowns.

“When you look at these cities and see what they’ve done, there’s not a single one that regrets putting this stadium downtown,” Sherman said.

This story was originally published April 22, 2022 5:09 p.m.

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Kevin Hardy covers the Kansas City Star business. He previously covered business and politics at the Des Moines Register. He also worked for newspapers in Kansas and Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Kansas

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