Future of Chiefs and Royals in Kansas City under question as voters reject tax bill

Teams seeking $2bn of public money to fund stadium projects
58% of voters in Jackson County, Missouri rebuff tax plan

The future of the Royals and Chiefs in Kansas City was thrown into question on Tuesday night when residents of Jackson county, Missouri, resoundingly voted down a sales tax measure that would have helped to fund a new downtown ballpark along with significant renovations to Arrowhead Stadium.

Royals owner John Sherman and Chiefs president Mark Donovan acknowledged long before the final tally that the initiative would fail. More than 58% of voters ultimately rejected the plan, which would have replaced an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has been paying for the upkeep of Truman Sports Complex – the home for more than 50 years to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums – with a similar tax that would have been in place for the next 40 years.

The Royals, who guaranteed at least $1bn from ownership for their project, wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2bn-plus ballpark district. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs, who had committed $300m in private money, would have used their share as part of an $800m overhaul of Arrowhead Stadium.

“We’re deeply disappointed as we are steadfast in our belief that Jackson county is better with the Chiefs and the Royals,” said Sherman, who left without taking questions. “As someone whose roots run deep in this town, who has been a dedicated fan and season-ticket holder for both of these teams, and now leading a remarkable ownership group.”

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