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Why the Kansas City Chiefs Might Soon Be Leaving the State of Missouri

Why the Kansas City Chiefs Might Be Leaving the State of Missouri
Kirby Lee/Getty Images

Chiefs Kingdom might have a new home base soon after the approval of a highly contentious new plan. 

Legislators in the state of Kansas approved a plan on Tuesday, June 18, that would attempt to coax away the Chiefs from the Missouri side of the Kansas City limits — which cover both Kansas and Missouri — with the construction of a new stadium and practice facilities. 

The Chiefs have played in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium since 1972. Prior to Arrowhead, the team played at nearby Municipal Stadium from 1963 to 1971 after being relocated to Kansas City by owner Lamar Hunt. 

According to the new plan, state bonds would cover up to 70 percent 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 collected from shopping and entertainment districts around the new stadiums.

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In addition to the Chiefs, the plan would also erect a new stadium for Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals, who have played in Kauffman Stadium, which shares a massive parking lot with Arrowhead, since 1973. 

Why the Kansas City Chiefs Might Be Leaving the State of Missouri
Kirby Lee/Getty Images

The Chiefs’ current deal with Arrowhead Stadium runs through 2031, so if the move happens, star tight end Travis Kelce might not be involved. Kelce, 34, is currently signed through the end of the 2027 NFL season, but he hasn’t yet indicated whether he’ll keep playing after that.

Meanwhile, quarterback Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year contract extension with the Chiefs in 2020.

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

While the Chiefs have made no promises on leaving Missouri for Kansas, the franchise released a statement of their own after the vote. “We look forward to exploring the options this legislation may provide,” the Chiefs said. 

Kansas Representative Stephanie Sawyer Clayton admitted she wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of the Chiefs coming across state lines because “I don’t like misogynistic dude bro culture,” pointing to the Hunt family’s support of an anti-abortion constitutional amendment in 2022. 

Why the Kansas City Chiefs Might Be Leaving the State of Missouri
Patrick Mahomes David Eulitt/Getty Images

However, Clayton still voted “yes” as a way to support the efforts of Governor Kelly. 

“I want a woman getting credit for sports things. So I’m doing it out of spite, frankly,” she admitted.

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Of course, things weren’t so joyous on the Missouri side of the state line, with Mayor Quinton Lucas promising to “lay out a good offer” to keep both teams where they are. 

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

Essentially, Lucas argued, the Chiefs and Royals are cooperating with the idea after Missouri voters refused to continue a local sales tax used to finance the upkeep of the teams’ stadiums during an April election. 

As Kansas Representative Susan Ruiz said, “I think the Chiefs and the Royals are using us.”

The Chiefs kick off their quest for back-to-back-to-back Super Bowls when they face the Baltimore Ravens in the regular season opener at Arrowhead Stadium on September 5. 

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