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Chiefs owner says leaving Arrowhead Stadium is an option after sales tax funding rejected

The Kansas City Chiefs plan to explore options including leaving Arrowhead Stadium after voters in Jackson County, Mo., roundly rejected a sales tax initiative that would have helped fund renovations to the old building 52 years old.

The Chiefs and Royals, whose Kauffman Stadium shares the Truman Sports Complex with the football stadium, rely on a three-eighths sales tax for their upkeep. Franchises wanted to expand that tax, with the Royals using their share of the money for a new downtown ballpark and the Chiefs considering an $800 million renovation at Arrowhead.

More than 58% of voters rejected the sales tax initiative after the campaign faced criticism from all sides.

“Time is of the essence for us at this point so we have to see what other options are available to us,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said on Saturday. “When we started this process three years ago, we felt like we had a very long – long runway with about 9 1/2 (years) remaining on our lease. We are now at 6 1/ 2 and so I feel a sense of urgency.”

Hunt, whose father Lamar founded the Chiefs and helped build Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, always favored renovating a stadium his father considered one of his favorite places in the world. The Hunt family had promised to spend $300 million in private funds on the renovation, with the rest coming from public funds.

Now, chefs must consider openings from other places. One of them could be just across the border, where Kansas public officials have made it clear they would like to have the chiefs on their side of the border.

“Stadium development projects take a long time,” Hunt said, “and I don’t want to give a precise number, but with only 6 1/2 years of the lease remaining, we’re going to have to work very hard over the course of the year. next year, a year and a half.”

Whatever direction the Chiefs take next, Hunt indicated they will head there on their own, rather than being tied to the Royals. That would give the NFL franchise more leeway to pursue the best financial package for itself, whether that’s thinking about renovating Arrowhead Stadium or a completely new facility elsewhere.

“There’s certainly nothing stopping us from coming back and doing something together,” Hunt said, “but (Royals owner John Sherman) also feels that sense of urgency and I know he’s looking forward to trying to find a long-term solution, which we are too.”

Associated Press reporting.

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