Archive for Friday, March 24, 2006

Stadium question

How much are proposed stadium improvements worth to non-sports fans in Kansas City, Mo.?

March 24, 2006


What will be the next goodie dangled in front of Kansas City, Mo., voters to try to entice them to vote in favor of added taxes to pay for massive overhauls at Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums?

First, National Football League officials promised voters they would award a Super Bowl football game to Arrowhead if voters OK the tax increase to modernize the stadium, plus add a movable roof. Not to be outdone, officials of Major League Baseball have promised they will schedule an All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium if voters approve improvements to the ball park, including a movable roof.

The cost of these projects is expected to total about $775 million. For this, those who like to attend Chiefs and Royals games will get improved facilities at the stadium and a roof to protect spectators and players from rain and snow. This would mean far fewer baseball games canceled by bad weather.

It is understandable that dyed-in-the-wool football and baseball fans will favor the remodeling, upgrades and movable roofs, but what do non-sports fans get out of the higher taxes? How much does it mean to them that on two days, at some undisclosed date in the next 10 to 15 years, Kansas City will be the host for a single, well-publicized baseball game and a single well-publicized football game?

Will they be willing to absorb the higher taxes just to get some improvements at the stadiums? They probably think the rich owners should be paying for far more of the projects' cost.

Will the civic pride card be strong enough to bring about a winning vote?

There still are a few days before the vote, and it wouldn't be surprising if even more goodies are offered to taxpayers if they will endorse the stadium projects.

Proponents have gone so far as to suggest there is a good chance the teams will be moved out of Kansas City if voters don't approve the higher taxes. Talk about scare tactics.

Every possible effort and argument is being made by proponents of the projects to win voter approval.

It will be interesting to see how much importance Kansas City, Mo., voters give to having a movable roof for their stadiums, more toilet facilities and wider concourse aisles to make buying a beer and hot dog less of a hassle.


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