The Ringer's Kevin Clark caught the attention of many Kansas City Chiefs fans Tuesday morning as he reported from the NFL Annual League Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. Chiefs president Mark Donovan went on the record with Clark and a small group of business writers regarding the future of Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs prez Mark Donovan, when asked this AM about potential new stadium options, said the team has considered options in state of Kansas. They like Arrowhead and legacy of Lamar Hunt’s stadium, but have been pitched by Kansas developers on a bunch of options. Something to watch.— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) March 29, 2022
Here is the exact quote from Donovan, according to Sports Business Journal writer Ben Fischer.
“Pretty consistently, we get inquiries from the state of Kansas, [that] if you’re going to make a change, what if you brought the stadium here?” Donovan said. “So we’re looking at that as well.”
Let it be known first that the franchise's current lease — at Arrowhead Stadium — expires in 2031, so any thought of a move (to Kansas or otherwise) would correctly be considered preliminary. But the Kansas City Royals' consistent hints that a move from the shared Truman Sports Complex to downtown Kansas City is on the way has got the Chiefs thinking.
Donovan noted it is early, but the team is also considering further renovations and the possibility of building a replacement for Arrowhead on site. That would become easier if Kauffman Stadium were vacated. A Chiefs spokesperson said Donovan has consistently told community groups the team is exploring all options when asked.
Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas quickly responded to the relocation notion via his official Twitter account.
Kansas City has proudly hosted the Chiefs since the early 1960s. We look forward to working with the Chiefs, our state of Missouri partners, and local officials to ensure the Chiefs remain home in Kansas City and Missouri for generations to come. https://t.co/h9XBn7L0VC— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) March 29, 2022
Back in mid-November, Chiefs owner, chairman and CEO Clark Hunt discussed how the Royals' decision-making regarding the future of Kaufmann Stadium might impact his team.
"[Royals majority owner] John Sherman was thoughtful enough to give us a heads up that they were going to make that announcement and that it was something they were considering," said Hunt. "We've been connected to the Royals for almost 50 years now here at the sports complex, so their decision on their long-term future will have an impact on us.
"We're going to watch as they go through the process and at some point in the next year or so start thinking about what's next for the Chiefs from a stadium standpoint."
Arrowhead Stadium last underwent a major renovation (that cost $375 million) in 2010. Donovan said in July that the team had invested nearly $40 million into the stadium over the past three years.
"We think that GEHA Field at Arrowhead is still one of the finest stadiums in the National Football League, and the renovation that we completed about 11 or 12 years ago really brought the stadium back into the top-tier in the National Football League," added Hunt. "Obviously, things change, and the way fans want to consume the game and the kind of spaces that you need, those things change over time, and we're paying attention to that.
"We've had beautiful stadiums open now in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and there will be things when we get to the end of our lease here in nine or so years that I'm sure we'll want to incorporate into the stadium. One possibility will be another renovation of Arrowhead."
Donovan's words regarding a vacant Kaufmann Stadium opening up room at Truman Sports Complex echoed Hunt's in November.
"One of the great things about the sports complex is how big it is and that's created the opportunity for our fans to have the tremendous tailgate experience that they have before the game each week so we're fortunate to have that kind of built-in experience already," said Hunt. "Obviously, if the Royals weren't playing at the sports complex, it would open up more space and maybe allow us to do some more programming that we haven't done in the past."
Perhaps the spirit of these introductory talks has stemmed from the Buffalo Bills' recent announcement of a new $1.4 billion stadium, which includes $850 million of public funding. The Chiefs have played in Arrowhead Stadium since 1972 — but in the NFL, you never know.
Tuesday offered a nudge that the league is still very much a business.