Kansas City Chiefs seek $150 million renovation of Arrowhead Stadium
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Kansas City Chiefs have told civic leaders they want help paying for a $150 million renovation of Arrowhead Stadium.
In a proposal presented to Jackson County officials, the Chiefs said they may be willing to spend $30 million of their own money for renovations, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
The $150 million plan presented to county officials last month nearly doubles the estimate presented to civic leaders two years ago. It mirrors the renovation proposal of the Kansas City Royals, who use Kauffman Stadium next door to Arrowhead.
Part of the money needed to finance improvements to Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums would come from a bistate tax that would be voted on in November 2002. Aside from the Chiefs' potential contribution, the other money is tentatively slated to come from Missouri state funds.
Jack Steadman, chairman of the Chiefs, said renovation costs have increased in two years because the team wants to expand concourses and add restrooms.
"We can bring Arrowhead up to and equal to the best stadiums in the country instead of building a new one," Steadman said. "It's a question of whether you want to pay a little now or a whole lot later."
The Royals made a similar preliminary proposal to county officials recently, but the plan has not been finalized. Estimates of their renovation project are also in the $150 million range. Royals owner David Glass has not made a financial commitment to the proposal.
Steadman said the Chiefs are willing to consider paying for improvements to the club level and for construction of new luxury suites -- remodeling projects that could cost up to $30 million.
"Until we get final plans, it's hard to say," Steadman said. "But we will pay our fair share. ... It could be in that range."
Arrowhead Stadium is the 10th oldest stadium in the National Football League, and Kauffman is the 12th oldest in major league baseball.
Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields said she agrees that both stadiums need renovation, but she and the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority are still reviewing the plans.
"Whatever improvements are made, the issue is extending the life and viability of those stadiums," Shields said, "and to make some significant improvements on them would be the most cost-efficient way to do that."
Royals and Chiefs officials believe the changes would generate more revenue and make the stadiums comparable to facilities in other cities. They also could help the county persuade both teams to extend their current lease agreements, which expire in 2015.
Steadman said the Chiefs would agree to extend their lease for another 25 years if Arrowhead is renovated.
Recently, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden said he supports a $646 million development plan in downtown St. Louis that would include a new stadium for the Cardinals. Under that plan, the state would spend $100 million toward the construction of the ballpark. The Cardinals would provide $20 million worth of land and an additional $118 million.
That proposal needs state and local approval.
Since that announcement, Kansas City officials have been seeking assurances that state will also provide money to Kansas City. After the St. Louis announcement, Glass said the idea of a downtown Kansas City stadium should at least be explored. Since then, however, he has expressed a preference for continuing renovation plans at Kauffman.
Steadman also believes a new stadium is not necessary, given the $500 million it would cost to construct a football stadium. He said the money would be better spent on improving Arrowhead.
"We feel it is smart for the community to start thinking in terms of keeping the stadiums state of the art," Steadman said. "They were state of the art 30 years ago, but that is no longer the case. It's a beautiful stadium, it just needs more space."
KANSAS CITY VOTERS APPROVE STADIUM FUNDS; REJECT ROOF
April 6, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaVentures
Kansas City voters this week approved $575 million in funds for upgrades to the Chiefs'
Arrowhead Stadium and the Royals' Kauffman Stadium, but turned down a second ballot issue to pay for a roof that could be rolled into position on both venues.
The teams, county and city officials all called the election a victory. Voters approved the renovation funds with a 53% margin. Yes votes only accounted for 49% on the roof issue.
The bonds approved by voters will fund $425 million of the $575 million project through a new 3/8-cent sales tax. The Royals will invest $25 million for their venue while the Chiefs will put $75 million into Arrowhead. Both teams agreed to extend their leases by 25 years to 2031 if the issue was approved. The Chiefs approved a $1 per ticket surcharge and the Royals went along with a 30- cent per ticket tax to help fund the bonds.
The roof issue would have taxed out-of-state purchases primarily made by businesses to fund the $202 million roof. The NFL promised a Super Bowl to Kansas City if a roof is built for Arrowhead Stadium. Supporters say they may make another attempt to gain voter support for a roof, but with a less obscure funding plan.
That vote could come as early as August because the roof issue has implications for the designs needed for Arrowhead stadium renovations. NFL officials indicated they are willing to extend their Super Bowl invitation if more time is needed to resolve the roof issue. The deadline for the August ballot is May 30. Aug. 29 is the deadline for the November vote.
The approval was a relief for Jackson County officials who faced a funding crisis. Under the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority's lease with the teams, certain renovations must be done in the next few years or the teams will be free to leave. The county did not have the money to make those basic improvements, much less the more extensive work that was sought by the teams.
With the approval, both venues will get wider concourses and additional concession stands. Arrowhead will see its rest rooms triple - largely for women - and the Chiefs will pay to add 117 new suites and a Hall of Fame.
The $250 million in renovations to Kauffman Stadium include a left-field plaza area with a new Hall of Fame, additional restaurants and Slugger's House, where fans can tour the mascot's living quarters. The right-field plaza area would include a new $2 million restaurant, which the Royals would pay for. The team would spend another $5 million on the outfield plaza areas, which would include a Royals Walk of Fame. The team would also redesign the venue's front area to include more ticket windows and concession sales windows to reduce waiting time.
The Royals are also considering an outdoor pavilion that would be used for concerts and events before and after games.
An effort to upgrade both venues failed before voters in a regional election in 2004. The winning sales tax election was confined to Jackson County, which hosts both venues, and the City of Kansas City.
CHIEFS OUTLINE ADDITIONAL STADIUM PLANS
January 22, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs have offered some new specifics about an additional
$70 million in improvements to Arrowhead Stadium and common areas at the Truman Sports
None of those costs would be paid by Jackson County taxpayers, representatives of the Chiefs
stressed in a presentation before the Jackson County Legislature.
"This does not expand the county's responsibility at all," said Ken Spain, a Kansas City attorney
representing the Chiefs.
Spain explained that the extra construction costs - above the $250 million approved by county
taxpayers - are being paid by the Hunt family and newly approved tax credits granted by the state
The legislature approved the resolution detailing the Chiefs' improvement plans.
Many Arrowhead improvements will be finished this year. The improvements to be completed
by August 2010 include $15.5 million to expand the scope of Arrowhead's upper deck, widening it
far beyond originally planned with additional concession stands and more public gathering places.
Another $4.77 million will be used to increase from eight to 18 the number of elevators for people with disabilities and $4.19 million will be spent to expand the Hall of Honor.
The other common-area improvements presented included $6.2 million for parking lot and road
repairs; $7.3 million in concrete coatings; and nearly $400,000 to improve drainage on ramps.
Spain described the expenses as unanticipated ones discovered after the original scope of the
project had been set.
Spain said the Chiefs plan to spend up to $10 million on a new indoor training facility at
Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, where it will hold training camp, in addition to
the improvements. (Kansas City Star)
March 12, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser has proposed ending the city's $2 million-a-year
payments to the Jackson County Sports Authority. If the city withheld the $2 million, the county
would have to make up the difference, Chiefs attorney Ken Spain said. Otherwise, the 25-year
leases signed in 2006 would be void and the teams would be free to leave town. Leases that the
county signed with the Royals and Chiefs promised $7 million in public subsidies each year for
upkeep. "It's mind-boggling to me, frankly, that he'd propose this," said County Executive Mike
Sanders, who also called the mayor's proposal "a nightmare scenario." (Kansas City Star)
KANSAS CITY, COUNTY DISCUSS STADIUM PAYMENTS
April 2, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders made clear that he expected
Kansas City to keep its $2 million pledge to the Truman Sports Complex.
In fact, he wants the city's continued funding commitment in writing.
Speaking to the Jackson County Legislature, Sanders said county and city officials worked
cooperatively last week to come to agreements that would allow the city to continue to make a $2
million contribution to the stadiums' upkeep. The city, Jackson County and the state of Missouri
contribute, collectively, $8.5 million each year to a special maintenance fund at the sports complex.
County officials had cautioned that if the city didn't make its $2 million contribution, it would
break the lease that the county has with the Kansas City Royals and the Chiefs.
"We're going to want a (written council) resolution to permanently fix that amount" of $2
million, Sanders said. "Two million will be the commitment going forward."
Indeed, the city has annually given $2 million for the sports complex.
But this year, facing an $85 million budget shortfall, the city wavered. City Manager Wayne
Cauthen proposed cutting it to $1.7 million, as he was reducing contributions to other regional
amenities by 15 percent. Mayor Mark Funkhouser argued for cutting it entirely.
The budget approved last week set the city's contribution at $1.7 million. (Kansas City Star)
KANSAS CITY MAYOR WANTS TO CUT STADIUM PAYMENTS
February 18, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser believes the $2 million the city
contributes each year to the upkeep of Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium could be better used elsewhere and he is recommending that it be cut from the budget. The city, Jackson County and state of Missouri contribute $8.5 million annually toward the stadium's upkeep and other costs.
It's the second time he's sought to eliminate the payment. Last year it was not supported by the City Council.
The mayor said he wanted the stadium subsidy to go to such priorities as improving street maintenance, expanding automated trash collection for certain neighborhoods, enhancing code enforcement, boosting the 311 Action Center hotline, and funding a popular paint program and an innovative crime prevention program.
Although many local officials had expected the mayor to once again call for the stadium trim, reaction came swiftly from Jackson County officials upset with the mayor's "risky proposal."
Jim Rowland, executive director of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, said the city is receiving much more in return for its $2 million annual payment.
The Truman Sports Complex, he said, has been "an economic engine during this time of recession," pointing to the $700 million renovation project at both Royals Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium. The construction project has employed some 6,000 workers. In addition, the city receives $5.6 million a year in direct taxes from the stadium complex.
CHIEFS UNVEIL RENOVATED ARROWHEAD STADIUM
August 5, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - The Kansas City Chiefs say they are ready to show off the renovated
Arrowhead Stadium to fans this fall, according to the Kansas City Star.
The stadium's official debut is Sept. 13 for the Chiefs' Monday night game against the San
"Our vision for the finished product was 'New body, same soul,'" Clark Hunt, the team's
chairman, told the Star, repeating the Chiefs' marketing slogan for the renovations. "We wanted to give our fans all the amenities of a first-class stadium while preserving the iconic elements of Arrowhead. I'm delighted to say we've exceeded my loftiest expectations and we're extremely proud to be able to show our fans the results."
The renovations left the seating area largely unchanged. Hunt said about 2,500 seats were lost because of the stadium overhaul, lowering capacity to about 76,000. But from the seating area, the most visible changes were the addition of the new media deck atop the south stands and the horizon level immediately below.
Mindful of how loud Arrowhead can be when it's at capacity, the Chiefs were careful not to alter the seating bowls, the newspaper reported.
"That was the plan right from the beginning," Chiefs president Denny Thum told the newspaper. "We looked at a lot of places, and probably the best blueprint was (Green Bay's) Lambeau Field. That's as iconic as it gets."
About $250 million of the funds for the renovations were approved by Jackson County voters in April 2006. The Chiefs contributed $125 million more.
JACKSON COUNTY STRUGGLES WITH DEBT PAYMENTS
September 23, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - With sales tax revenues dwindling in the economic downturn, Jackson
County has struggled to keep current on payments related to the Truman Sports Complex, according to the Kansas City Star.
County officials downplay the significance of any partial or delayed payments to the Royals and Chiefs, currently short by more than $2.5 million, the newspaper said.
They add that the teams are not threatening the county with default of the leases that govern the use of Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums.
Spokesmen for the Royals and Chiefs declined to raise concerns to the newspaper about delayed payments.
"The Royals continue to work with our partners, Jackson County and the JCSCA (the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority), as they deal with the economic challenges presented by the current economic climate," Mike Swanson, a spokesman for the Royals, told the Star.
The Royals and Chiefs, team spokesmen added, have complied with all requirements of the lease, amended in 2006 when voters approved a d-cent sales tax to finance construction bonds for a major renovation plan for the stadiums, then estimated at $575 million.
"Jackson County is never going to default on those bonds," Calvin Williford, the county's director of intergovernmental relations and communications, told the Star.
Renovation of the stadiums - which has now exceeded more than $650 million - is mostly completed. And now, county officials say, the leases are entering a new era where repairs, maintenance and operations of the stadiums will become primary.
That's currently where the county is coming up short - in paying maintenance and management fees.
The county owes the teams a total of about $7 million per year for management fees, and it currently owes the Chiefs $1.3 million and the Royals $1.38 million, county officials told the newspaper.
Sales tax revenue for the stadiums this year is projected to fall to $30.19 million, just below what was produced in 2009. In 2007, the tax produced nearly $32.5 million.
More significant, the current revenues have been short the last two years of paying the annual debt service on the bonds - just above $32 million.
County officials told the Star the sales tax revenues, combined with contributions from the city, state and a county parks tax, as well as team lease payments, are sufficient to meet the annual debt service.
County and sports complex officials also are banking on the sales tax ticking back upward.
Adding to the county's cash flow problems is the slow payment of funds by other governments that have pledged to contribute to the stadium upkeep fund.
Kansas City, for example, has paid less than $500,000 of the $2 million it has pledged for 2010. The Kansas City Council is expected to approve this month payment of the remaining $1.5 million, in installments.
County officials confirmed to the Star that its reserves dwindled to a point this year that when the teams were scheduled to receive part of their management fee payments, they were only paid in part.
What's more, soon after the Chiefs requested payment from the so-called RMMO (repairs, maintenance, management and operations) last month, county officials held up the payment, surprising Jim Rowland, executive director of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and the Chiefs.
Williford described the delays in payments to the Star as a "prudent pause" that taxpayers would expect of the county as it moves into this new era of maintaining the stadiums and their costly renovations.
Williford told Rowland the county is undertaking a review of the teams' RRMO fund "in connection with an overall review of the sports complex financing."
Williford said any payments would be deferred until team officials and county officials could meet so the county could update everyone "on the current status of the financing."
He added: "I think all parties can sit down and work out a process so this is not an issue," the newspaper reported.
BOND TRUSTEE FREEZES FUNDS ON KANSAS CITY VENUES
December 2, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Kansas City, Mo. - The Bank of Kansas City, the trustee of bonds sold to upgrade Arrowhead
and Kauffman stadiums, has frozen $3.4 million in funds related to the venues because the bond's insurer, Ambac Financial Group, has gone bankrupt, the Kansas City Star reported.
The Bank of Kansas City was forced to take the action because of the bankruptcy of the bond surety company involved in the bond sale, county officials told the Star. The surety is a guarantee of an ability to pay debt service on the bonds.
Ambac Financial Group, which provided a $22 million surety bond when the bonds were issued in July 2006, is one of the victims of the nation's financial markets meltdown. Ambac filed for bankruptcy in November.
That means replacing the surety bond will cost an estimated $220,000 - money that would have to come out of other Jackson County Sports Complex Authority funds. If The Bank of Kansas City continues to freeze funds, it would limit the money available for stadium maintenance or repairs.
"None of this is the fault of the Royals, Chiefs, the Legislature or the county executive," Dan Tarwater, a Jackson County legislator who has closely followed the renovations at Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadium, told the Star. "It's Wall Street and the economy. But we will get it resolved."
Sanders said the teams and county are cooperating to find a solution. He said they expect to agree on a way to cure the bond surety problem in the next 30 to 45 days. County officials said one solution might be for the Jackson County Legislature to authorize the sale of $22 million in bonds to accumulate the money required in lieu of Ambac's surety bond. The teams would have to agree to that arrangement, officials said.
The county is current on paying its annual debt service on the bonds, Matt Webster of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., which has advised the county on bond finances, told the newspaper.
Webster noted that the bank trustee placed about $3.4 million in a debt-service reserve fund. The trustee has agreed those funds could be transferred back for other uses, if the county replaced the bond surety.
County taxpayers in 2006 approved a d-cent sales tax to pay for the sale of nearly $450 million in construction bonds for the renovation of the Sports Complex. The teams paid for part of the work, bringing total construction costs to more than $600 million.
July 21, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures
Kansas City Chiefs ticket takers and parking attendants say that the team has taken one of the only benefits of their jobs away from them, and WDAF said they are not happy about it. The workers told the television station that the team has, in the past, allowed them to stay and watch the games at Arrowhead Stadium for free after they finish their duties. The workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union, which met with the team on to discuss the change. Union representative Sherwin Carroll told WDAF they were working with the Chiefs to restore that benefit. In a prepared statement, the Chiefs said, "We're working to develop policies and practices that provide the best possible experience for our fans; and fair and appropriate compensation and benefits for our employees."