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Kansas City Chiefs Share Arrowhead Stadium Wish List Jackson County Voters Decide on Chiefs and Royals Stadium Tax April 2

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Above image credit: Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt speaks at a press conference about Arrowhead Stadium renovations. (Kevin Collison | Flatland)
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5 minute read

The Kansas City Chiefs have revealed an $800 million plan to renovate Arrowhead Stadium that adds features such as end zone club seats and suites, but essentially leaves the look of the sports palace alone. 

“For more than five decades, this stadium has served not only as the home of Chiefs football, but as a cultural landmark for Kansas City and the entire Midwest,” said Clark Hunt, Chiefs chairman and CEO. 

“We feel confident that with the right enhancements, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium will continue to be the landmark that it is today.” 

An aerial view of a renovated Arrowhead Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs have unveiled plans to renovate Arrowhead Stadium. Jackson County voters will decide whether to extend an existing 3/8-cent sales tax on April 2. (Courtesy | Populous)

The proposed redesign, along with the Royals plan to build a new ballpark downtown, would be partly financed by a 3/8-cent Jackson County sales tax to be decided by voters April 2.  

“What we’re saying, and we hope the voters hear, is that you’ve got a family that’s committed to this region and puts hundreds of millions of dollars into this region and provided a pretty good experience for all of us,” said Mark Donovan, Chiefs president.  

“We’re asking you to continue the partnership.” 

Some of the key features in the upgrade plan include: 

  • A covered “Activation Zone” at the site of Kauffman Stadium, which would be razed as part of the project. The canopied space would be available for gameday activities and tailgating, and year-round community events. 
  • Substantially larger stadium video screens. The east screen would be four times larger, and the west screen about three times larger. Team officials said the current screens are in the bottom 20% of the NFL and the new ones would be average for the league. 
  • Both end zones would include 1,000 new club seats and 10 suites. For fans in the cheaper seats, the upper concourse would be covered by a canopy featuring heating elements and fans. A new upper concourse connection bridge would allow 360-degree access around the stadium. The stadium is expected to have a total capacity of over 70,000. 
  • A second tunnel would be built to allow additional access to the field for visiting teams and for installing major concerts and other events. 
  • The concession stands on the general concourses would be converted to modern “Grab-n-Go Markets” to speed service. All the suites and other luxury amenities would be renovated as well. 
  • The O Parking lot would be expanded and paved, with permanent restrooms installed. The team is also considering installing RV hookups there. A dedicated ride-share area is also planned.  
The Kansas City Chiefs want to create a new turf-covered "Activation Zone" with tailgate areas and covered entertainment space on the current site of Kauffman Stadium.
The Kansas City Chiefs want to create a new turf-covered “activation zone” with tailgate areas and covered entertainment space on the current site of Kauffman Stadium. (Courtesy | Populous)

If voters approve the sales tax extension, work will begin after the 2026 World Cup Games with completion expected in 2030. Games would continue to be played during construction. 

What the $800 million plan does not include is either a roof for the stadium to allow major events such as the Super Bowl or what had been anticipated to be a Chiefs entertainment district on the site of Kauffman. 

“That (roof) was something that we studied carefully 20 years ago as part of that renovation plan,” Hunt said. “When it did not pass, the design went away for a roof. 

“Our football team likes playing in the elements, we feel it’s a competitive advantage for us.” 

Donovan said the idea of building an entertainment district by Arrowhead, something occurring more often in the NFL, was discarded after careful study. 

“We actually did a pretty good analysis on what sort of development we could do in a game district and there’s some reality you get quickly,” he said.  

“Right now, in this market, this is not a location that is ready for development. As harsh as this sounds, it’s just the reality.” 

Donovan added the improvements planned for Arrowhead, including the canopied Activation Zone, may make the benefit of a separate entertainment development marginal. 

“Everything that we’ve done with this project has been focused on how to embrace the fan experience,” he said. “How do we make Arrowhead better?  

“And when we start with that focus, you start to lose the need to do more.” 

An additional 3,000 parking spaces is part of the plan, including 1,700 located on part of the Kauffman Stadium location.

While some fans may be disappointed, the Chiefs are not building a new stadium like their NFL peers in Buffalo and Nashville, Donovan expects the revamped Arrowhead will have the best of the old and new.  

Donovan and Hunt have made it a practice to check out other NFL stadiums during road games, including the flashiest new ones such as SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. 

“When you talk about should we build a new stadium or should we renovate the current one it’s very easy to be jealous,” Donovan said, “And the jealousy comes from, ‘Can we actually do this?’ 

“Clark said we’re keeping the spirit of this building, everything that makes it special.” 

Donovan said the biggest improvement idea was adding end zone suites and club seats, but the team came away convinced it could add desirable new features without changing Arrowheads vibe.  

“I was most excited about how we could bring the best of the NFL…into Arrowhead and keep the spirit of this building and add those amenities,” Donovan said. “That’s exciting. I think that’s the best of both worlds. 

“Every single fan at every single level will be positively impacted by this renovation.” 

The renovated stadium is expected to have a total capacity of over 70,000.

“We want Arrowhead to remain one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, and a big part is to be able to host over 70,000 fans and keep them as close as possible to the field,” Hunt said.

The Chiefs say end zone clubs and suites will offer new viewing and hospitality experiences for fans.
The Chiefs say end zone clubs and suites will offer new viewing and hospitality experiences for fans. (Courtesy | Populous)

The Hunt family is investing $300 million in the $800 million project. The extended county sales tax would generate an estimated $300-$350 million.  

As for the funding gap, the Chiefs are negotiating with the State of Missouri for financial help, although Hunt declined to disclose the amount. 

“Those conversations are ongoing with the state right now. I don’t have a final answer on that,” he said. 

Lease negotiations are expected to go quickly with the Jackson County Sports Authority. As opposed to the Royals, which are seeking a 40-year lease for their proposed new ballpark, the Chiefs want to continue their lease for another 25 years. 

“We have a very good lease, we’ll extend that lease,” Donovan said. “We also have a successful community benefits agreement, and we’ll extend that CBA. We expect them to get done in the near future.” 

The Chiefs say three new pedestrian bridges will improve traffic flow at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs say three new pedestrian bridges will improve traffic flow at Arrowhead Stadium. (Courtesy | Populous)

The Chiefs also plan to contribute to the campaign in favor of the 3/8-cent county sales tax extension.  

A group called the Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County has been formed and began a television advertising campaign this week. 

When asked if any Chiefs players might have a starring role in the advertising effort, Donovan punted.  

“We’ve shied away from putting them in that position,” he said. “We’ll use them in our placards, as part of the campaign, but personally speaking and doing interviews, we don’t plan on that right now.” 

As for Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes? 

“I think you’ll see Patrick in spots, but I don’t think you’ll see Patrick doing a scripted spot,” he said. 

And if voters reject the sales tax renewal?

 “If there’s a no vote, we don’t have a Plan B,” Hunt said. “We feel confident we’ll make this plan happen.”

The Chiefs want to increase the size of the video boards at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs want to increase the size of the video boards at Arrowhead Stadium. (Courtesy | Populous)

Proposed Arrowhead Stadium Renovations 

  • New turf-covered Activation Zone with tailgate areas and covered entertainment space built over the current site of Kauffman Stadium for gameday activations and year-round community opportunities.
  • A new Upper Concourse Connection Bridge will create 360-degree wrap-around connectivity for fans on the upper concourse as well as additional space for new food and beverage points of sale.
  • Upper Concourse Canopy will provide weather protection for all fans on the upper-level concourse, in addition to infrared heaters and overhead fans increasing year-round comfort.
  • New VIP Stadium Entry Points will lead to all-new spaces inside the stadium and will also decrease fan traffic and congestion at existing general admission gates.
  • New Sideline Clubs will be constructed after excavating under the lower-level seating bowl to create new premium experiences for gamedays and special events.
  • New Video Boards will be increased in size while keeping their iconic shape to complement the stadium’s unique curved end zones while new LED Ribbon Boards will also be installed.
  • Upgraded TV, Wi-Fi, DAS (distributed antenna system) and Audio System Technology will be introduced throughout the stadium, enhancing fan connectivity as well as the clarity and quality of the game presentation in-stadium.
  • New End Zone Clubs and Suites will introduce new viewing and hospitality experiences that are now common in newer NFL venues.
  • New Concession Stands, Retail Spaces and Restrooms will result in improved access and reduced wait times around the building.
  • A New Field Access Tunnel will provide a new field access point for visiting teams, closer access to new visiting team areas, as well as faster event turnover for major concerts and other special events.
  • Full Suite and Club Lounge renovations and updates will deliver the latest in technology, fixtures and furniture for every existing suite.
  • Traditional Concession Stands will be converted to modern Grab-n-Go Markets throughout general concourses, resulting in an anticipated increase in speed of service by 30-40% and transaction times will decrease with new point-of-sale technology systems.
  • Three new Pedestrian Bridges will eliminate interruptions to vehicular traffic flow, resulting in improved safety and event experience.
  • Dedicated Rideshare Zone promoting a more seamless rideshare experience for football games and concerts while reducing congestion.
  • A New Parking Deck on the south side of the stadium and Expanded Parking on the north side of the stadium at the current site of Kauffman Stadium increases the total number of paved parking spots, while Reoriented Parking Lots improve pedestrian flow and the tailgating experience.
  • Lot O RV Parking Lot will be expanded, paved and permanently lit, with permanent restroom facilities being added for the user experience.

A video of the Chiefs’ concepts can be viewed here. 

Flatland contributor Kevin Collison previously was founder and publisher of CitySceneKC.

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