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Kansas City Royals exploring new ballpark options

Kansas City Royals owner John Sherman has revealed that the Major League Baseball team is exploring the possibility of building a new downtown ballpark.

The Royals have played at Kauffman Stadium since it opened in 1973 and the team’s current lease at the venue expires in 2031. Kauffman Stadium forms part of the Truman Sports Complex, which also includes GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

Sherman has confirmed that the Royals are considering a move to downtown Kansas City, with the team conducting an internal process to evaluate its options of where to play.

“One of those options is to play downtown baseball,” said Sherman. “We’re starting to get more feedback from the community. We look forward to more. But wherever we play, it’ll meet that criteria. And it’s got to do great things for Kansas City.”

Sherman and his group of investors bought the Royals in 2019. Sherman said the team has been presented with a range of ballpark proposals since he bought the franchise.

“Since the day we acquired the franchise, trust me, we have had a revolving door with people bringing us lots of ideas, some that have been on the shelf for a long time,” he said. “And we’ve spent our time listening. We’ve also thought about the future of where we play. I would just tell you that we’re in a good spot here at Truman Sports Complex. Our lease is up at the end of the decade. But we need to start thinking about our plans for a stadium over the next five to 10 years.”

Sherman added that any potential new stadium would result in “meaningful community impact” and “economic growth and economic activity” that benefits the region.

Sherman also said that a new stadium would likely be funded through a public-private partnership. In 2006, a similar approach was taken to fund renovation of Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium, and Sherman said any details of a future funding agreement would be discussed during the team’s evaluation process.

Sherman added: “We want to be transparent on how we’re thinking about it, begin that discussion and start to get feedback from the various groups in the community, as to how they feel about the concept and … if we can make (the criteria) work, and the math works, it’s certainly a possibility for the future.”

Image: Mr.Konerko/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size