Kansas lawmakers approve big measure in hopes of luring Chiefs, Royals

In the “Games of Thrones” series, a handful of political powerbrokers attempt to gain control of the Seven Kingdoms and reign over the world known as Westeros.

In real life, Kansas lawmakers made a major move Tuesday to gain access to the Chiefs Kingdom.

Kansas legislators approved a plan for luring the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals away from Missouri and across the border. The lawmakers passed a measure to authorize state bonds to help finance new stadiums and practice facilities for both teams.

Gov. Laura Kelly released a statement on the measure’s passing.

“I pledged to work with members of both parties on policies that are beneficial to Kansas,” she said. “The bipartisan effort to invite the Chiefs and Royals to Kansas shows we’re all-in on keeping our beloved teams in the Kansas City metro. 

“Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse with the Chiefs and Royals potentially joining Sporting KC as major league attractions, all with robust, revenue-generating entertainment districts surrounding them providing new jobs, new visitors, and new revenues that boost the Kansas economy.”

The approval was a part of a two-month push to take advantage of Missouri voters’ refusal to continue a local sales tax used to finance the upkeep of the teams’ stadiums.

Kauffman Stadium in 2020

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Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas promised to lay out a plan to keep both teams.

“Today was largely, in my opinion, about leverage,” Lucas said. “And the teams are in an exceptional leverage position.”

The plan would allow state bonds to cover up to 70% of each new stadium, paying them off over 30 years with revenues from sports betting, state lottery ticket sales and new sales and alcohol taxes from the districts built around the new stadiums.

The Chiefs and Royals both released statements on the legislation.

“We appreciate that leaders in the State of Kansas proactively reached out to us for input on the proposed STAR Bond legislation,” the Chiefs said, via FOX 4 KC. “We support their efforts to expand the existing program and congratulate them on passing the legislation in special session. We look forward to exploring the options this legislation may provide.

Arrowhead Stadium in September 2023

“We’re grateful to the Kansas Legislature for today’s bipartisan action that gives the state a pragmatic tool in which to achieve its economic development goals,” the Royals added. “The Kansas City Royals look forward to additional conversations as we evaluate where we will play baseball in the future. We will always prioritize the best interests of our fans, associates, and taxpayers in this process.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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