Analysis

The Chiefs Should Stay Home In Jackson County

Should the Chiefs consider moving to a new stadium location? On why the team is set where they currently call home at the Truman Sports Complex.

Both major sports franchises in Kansas City — the Chiefs and Royals — are likely to be in new stadiums within the next ten years. Where they will be built becomes the larger question.

Talk of new stadiums always causes some angry discussions in Kansas City. There are many sports fans in the city who do not want the Royals or Chiefs to change anything in regards to their stadiums. I will confess, that I am one of them. Being born in 1982, I have lived my entire life going to Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums. That is a lifetime full of memories in those places.

Connection To Chiefs Stadium Is About More Than Memories

It isn’t just memories though; they are still amazingly beautiful stadiums. They are easily accessible just off Interstate 70 and plenty of other roadways to move traffic before and after games. Kansas City is known as the best tailgate in pro sports thanks to the large parking lot that allows for it. It will be hard to tailgate for Royals games on the side of a downtown street.

Unfortunately, all of these valid reasons for wanting no change are moot because change is coming. The Royals are moving downtown so people can do everything they can already do downtown only with a lot more traffic and a lack of parking. The decision has already been made. This brings to question what the Chiefs will do after their long-time tag team partner leaves.

There are two realistic options for the Chiefs: stay at the Truman Sports Complex or move to the Kansas side of the city. How you feel about these options likely depends on how close to either one of those locations you live. I’ll be honest, I live an hour east of the Truman Sports Complex so the idea of going to Kansas to watch a game isn’t appealing. As a 30+ year season ticket holder, my opinion should matter at least a little bit.

But my reasons for why the Chiefs should stay at the Truman Sports Complex go beyond personal greed. It starts with the complex itself. The plan would be simple after the Royals move downtown. The Chiefs could tear down Kauffman Stadium and build the new Arrowhead Stadium where Kauffman stands now. Once completed, the Chiefs could tear down the current Arrowhead and build an entertainment district in the parking lots of the stadium.

The New England Patriots have such an area next to Gillette Stadium. On a smaller scale, think about the Ballpark Village across the street from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s a building directly across from Busch Stadium. Inside, there is shopping, dining, and a giant open area with huge televisions to watch ballgames.

I think the Chiefs fans would support something similar, only on a much larger scale. I think it will likely involve a hotel, some fancy dining, as well as average dining. I would expect to see a nightclub or two, as well as plenty of shopping. Basically, any way to spend money, fans will have access to it. Even a sports betting area is possible once that becomes legal in Missouri.

The area at Truman Sports Complex is perfect for that kind of setup. There is nothing else around it so it will be the center of attention for the area. If you can’t go to the game, it will be the perfect place to get as close as possible. All while maintaining the easy access in and out as well as the tailgating size Chiefs fans demand.

Beyond Access, Chiefs Must Also Consider Funding New Stadium

Of course, there is the problem of funding. Whether people like it or not, the majority of funds for these new stadiums will come from taxpayer dollars. If the taxpayers of Jackson County, Missouri agree to it, then the Chiefs will remain at Truman Sports Complex. However, if those taxpayers decide to vote against it then the Chiefs will move to an area where they will receive the funding. It is a guarantee that if Jackson County doesn’t vote for it, then Wyandotte County in Kansas will happily fit the bill. There is plenty of land in the same area as the Kansas Motor Speedway that would fit a new stadium perfectly.

It is likely that area would be large enough to add the parking and entertainment district as well. Of course, that would cost a lot more money to clear the land and pave all that area whereas the current Truman Sports Complex is already in place. That makes it a cheaper bill for the citizens of Jackson County compared to what it would be in Wyandotte County.

At the end of the day, the Chiefs will go to where the money is, whether fans like it or not. However, what is best for the Chiefs is to stay at TSC. Clark Hunt cares about his father’s legacy. The TSC is part of his father’s legacy in Kansas City. Staying put is not only the cheapest solution for the Chiefs, but it is also the best for the Hunt legacy and the fans.

The new stadium will be beautiful. It will be loud and yes it will have a retractable dome so that the Super Bowl can come to our city. That is the case no matter what side of the state line it is on. But the Chiefs belong in Missouri. They belong at the Truman Sports Complex and fans deserve to maintain at least some history and tradition. A new stadium is always hard to get used to, but we would at least be able to tailgate in the same spots and be able to tell our children and grandchildren about the times we had there while making new memories at the new Arrowhead Stadium.


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