TOPEKA, (KSNT)— As lawmakers undergo negotiations on a sports betting bill, an amendment offered by House Federal and State Affairs chair Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, would incentivize new sports teams coming to the area.

The House amendment would establish a new fund, called the “Attracting Professional Sports in Kansas” fund, and it would designate that 80% of the state’s portion of sports wagering revenues would be deposited in the fund.

“Just trying to think ahead…not two years, but five years…or longer. We have one professional sports team in the state of Kansas… Kansas City Soccer,” Rep. Barker said. “If a team wants to move into Wichita, or the Kansas side of Kansas City we would have some incentive that we can offer them to come…”

Monies could then be used by the State Finance Council to pledge all or a portion of such funds to providing a professional sports team with financing for the principal or interest on any bonds issued by the state or municipality for a primary facility of the professional sports team to be constructed or expanded into the state of Kansas.

“Other states do this, Kansas does not presently,” Barker explained. “We may be able to attract a professional team, basketball team… maybe a football team.”

“It’s like the rainy day fund, being able to put some money back to say, ‘hey, if you want to move into Kansas….we can help you a little bit…'”

This comes as the Chiefs have recently considered crossing the state line to become the Kansas City, Kansas, Chiefs. That’s according to a report from Kevin Clark of the Ringer after he spoke to Chiefs President Mark Donovan at the NFL Owners Meetings in Palm Beach, Florida Tuesday morning.

Chiefs prez Mark Donovan, when asked this AM about potential new stadium options, said the team has considered options in state of Kansas. They like Arrowhead and legacy of Lamar Hunt’s stadium, but have been pitched by Kansas developers on a bunch of options. Something to watch.

KEVIN CLARK (@BYKEVINCLARK)

Another man at the table with Clark at the owners meeting was Ben Fischer from the Sports Business Journal. He said Donovan mentioned a lot of things when talking with reporters.

“We got to be talking about stadiums,” Fischer said Tuesday. “He mentioned almost in passing that he received on a semi-regular basis that he receives inquires from developers that want to do something with him involving stadiums … in Kansas.”

Fischer said he doesn’t know how serious the Chiefs are about moving across state line. He compared the situation to concerns the Buffalo Bills had that team would move to Austin, Texas, unless they got a new stadium in Western New York.

“I think Mark Donovan likely fully intended to do this today and waive this flag that there’s an option in play,” Fischer continued. 

Regardless, Chiefs fans and city officials are watching, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

“We look forward to working with the Chiefs, our state of Missouri partners, and local officials to ensure the Chiefs remain home in Kansas City and Missouri for generations to come,” Lucas said.

Jackson County Executive Frank White agreed with the mayor, issuing his own statement about the Chiefs and Arrowhead Tuesday afternoon.

“Jackson County has been the proud home of Arrowhead Stadium since 1972. And to this day, Arrowhead Stadium continues to be the best and loudest football stadium in world, providing the greatest fan experience in the NFL thanks in large part to the significant investments made by Jackson County residents. The Chiefs and the Royals are under contract until at least 2031. The County looks forward to working with all involved to ensure both teams remain in Jackson County for decades to come.”

FRANK WHITE, JACKSON COUNTY EXECUTIVE

This isn’t the first time the Chiefs have talked about relocating. In Nov. 2021, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt hinted at a possible move when the Kansas City Royals began eyeing a move to downtown.

“John Sherman was thoughtful enough to give us a heads up that they were going to make that announcement and that it was something they were considering,” Hunt told reporters at the time. “Obviously, we’ve been connected to the Royals for almost 50 years now here at the [Truman] sports complex, so their decision on their long-term future will have an impact on us. We’re going to watch as they go through the process and at some point in the next year or so start thinking about what’s next for the Chiefs from a stadium standpoint.”

Both teams’ lease on their stadiums at the Truman Sports Complex expires in 2031.