Cheap Champs: Chiefs Exec Hints at Move If Stadium Tax Vote Doesn’t Pass

The Chiefs want money from the public to renovate Arrowhead Stadium

A general view of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Could the Chiefs be leaving Arrowhead?
Getty Images

Coming off their second consecutive Super Bowl win and third championship in five years, the Chiefs are putting all of the goodwill they’ve built up in Kansas City during the past half decade at risk. The team is threatening to leave the city if local fans don’t vote to extend 3/8-cent sales tax until the year 2064 to help the team pay for renovations at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The stadium sales tax, which would add up to roughly $2 billion over the next 40 years and also help the Royals pay for a new ballpark area, will appear on the ballot on April 2.

Speaking with KSHB 41 in Kansas City about his team’s desire for the proceeds from the extension of the regional sales tax, Chiefs President Mark Donovan said the proposed improvements to Arrowhead Stadium would cost about $800 million and the team and Hunt family (who are worth an estimated $25 billion) would be willing to pony up $300 million to pay the bill. For those keeping score at home, that’s just 3/8 of the bill. Fitting.

Asked if the Royals might leave town if the tax is not extended, Donovan brought up the possibility of the Chiefs leaving town. “I can’t answer that for the Royals. I just know for us the Chiefs, we would just have to look at all our options,” he said. “I think they would have to include leaving Kansas City. But our goal here is, we want to stay here. And we’re willing to accept a deal for the county to actually stay here.”

While it’s likely a hollow semi-threat, it’s an embarrassing one. It’s also completely on-brand, as the Chiefs have become known as champs as well as cheapskates over the past couple of years.

Ranked 29th out the NFL’s 32 franchises by the NFLPA in a 2023 team guide that was based on votes from players, the Chiefs were noted for their frugality, with only 56% of respondents reporting they believed club owner Clark Hunt was willing to invest the money to upgrade franchise facilities. Despite that horrible ranking coming off of a Super Bowl win, things only got worse in the minds of KC’s players as they won their second straight title. Overall, Kansas City came in 31st on the 2024 report card, with Hunt getting a rating of 4.9/10 from Chiefs players when considering his willingness to invest in the facilities (32nd overall).

What makes the Hunts look even worse is that their stadium, which is now competing with the Kansas City Current‘s (privately financed) home field of CPKC Stadium, certainly needs renovations like adding a canopy, fans and heating to the upper concourse. Had those improvements, which the Hunts could have paid for with the lint from their pockets, been made before this year’s playoff run, freezing fans who attended the near-record cold postseason game in January against the Dolphins wouldn’t have had to undergo amputations after suffering frostbite.

Now those same fans are being asked to reach into their pockets and pay a 3/8-cent sales tax to help pay for 5/8 of an $800 million renovation at Arrowhead Stadium — assuming they still have their fingers to do the reaching.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!