The Kansas City Chiefs’ plan to build a new stadium will be voted on in the legislature

A 170-year-old rivalry is brewing as Kansas lawmakers try to win Super Bowl champion Kansas City chiefs leave Missouri even though economists have long concluded that subsidizing professional sports not worth the price.

Top leaders of the Kansas Legislature have endorsed helping the Chiefs and professional baseball team the Kansas City Royals New stadium sponsorship in Kansas ahead of the special session scheduled to convene Tuesday. The plan would authorize state bonds to build stadiums and pay for them with revenue from sports betting, the Kansas Lottery and additional tax dollars generated in and around the new locations.

The state border runs through a metropolitan area of ​​about 2.3 million people, and teams will travel only about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west.

Decades of research have concluded that professional sports franchising does not boost the local economy much, if at all, because it primarily draws existing spending from elsewhere in the same community. . But for Kansas officials, the least spending will leave Missouri and go to Kansas, and Missouri leading the way has its own appeal.

“I have wanted to meet with the Chiefs in Kansas all my life, but I hope we can do it in a way that benefits these communities, instead of adding to their burden,” said state Rep. Jason said Probst, a Democrat. from central Kansas.

The rivalry between Kansas and Missouri can be traced back to the beginning of the Civil War, before Kansas was even a state. People from Missouri came from the east, vain hope to create another state of slavery like their own. Both sides looted, burned and killed across the border.

There is also a century-old athletic rivalry between the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri. And for years, the two states have burned through hundreds of millions of dollars luring businesses to one side of the border or the other in search of jobs. They call one uneasy truce in 2019.

Missouri officials are pledging to be equally aggressive in keeping the Royals and Chiefs, not just because they see them as economic assets.

“They are a source of great pride,” said Representative John of Missouri. Pattersona Republican from suburban Kansas City is expected to become the state’s next House speaker.

Kansas lawmakers meet with Chiefs and Royals playing because the voters are on the Missouri side declined in April extend local sales taxes to maintain their side-by-side stadiums. Lawmakers also argued that failure to take action risked one or both teams leaving the Kansas City area, although economists doubted that the threat was real.

While the stadium complex’s lease runs through January 2031, Kansas officials say teams must make decisions soon to have new or renovated stadiums ready by then. They also promised the Chiefs a stadium with a dome or retractable roof to host Super Bowls, college basketball finals and large indoor concerts.

“You have this property and all the businesses,” said Kansas Rep. Sean Tarwater, a Republican on the edge of his state’s Kansas City suburbs and a leader of the relocation effort. move there or be established there”. . “You will get trade from that area every day.”

About 60% of the region’s population lives in Missouri, but the Kansas side is growing faster.

Despite the legislative push in Kansas, Missouri lawmakers are in no rush to propose alternatives. Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson told reporters Thursday that his state is “not only close to the end,” but also said, “We are only in the first quarter” of the contest.

Both states hold primaries on August 3, with most legislative seats up for grabs this year. Missouri’s April vote on local stadium taxes suggests that subsidizing professional sports teams could be a political loser in that state, especially with conservative-leaning voters. challenger in the Republican primaries.

David Kimball, a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, professor of political science. “The more conservative, the more Trump-leaning, they are not in favor of spending taxpayer money on anything.”

Kansas Republicans face pressure on the right to avoid letting the state pick economic winners and losers. For Probst, a Democrat, the concern is using government “to make the rich richer,” meaning the group owners.

Economists have studied professional sports teams and stadium subsidies since at least the 1980s. JC Bradbury, a professor of economics and finance from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, said the Research shows that stadium subsidies are “a terrible channel for economic growth.”

While supporters of the Kansas effort have cited a report pointing to huge, positive economic impacts, Bradbury said “fake” reports are a staple of campaigns in stadium.

“Stadiums are poor public investments, and I would say that is almost unanimous consensus,” said Bradbury, who has reviewed the studies and conducted them himself.

Still, more than 30 lobbyists have signed on to push for a stadium funding plan from Kansas lawmakers, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce CEO called it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.” in life” to attract Leaders.

Not only have the Chiefs won three Super Bowl titles in five years, but they also have an exceptionally strong fan base that has expanded thanks to tight end Travis Kelce. romantic with pop stars Taylor Swift.

Judith Grant Long, an associate professor of sports management and urban planning at the University of Michigan and director of the organization, said host cities find the National Football League attractive for franchising. The trade is worth billions and the wealthy owners and famous players attract media attention. focus on sports venues.

“All of this combined creates a powerful brew for politicians, civic officials and local business interests hoping to leverage its influence,” she said. .

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