Blowout loss at ballot box throws raises real questions about future of Chiefs in Kansas City

The Chiefs rarely suffer a blowout loss at home. On Tuesday, they did.

It wasn’t even close. Only 41 percent of Jackson County voters approved the extension of a sales tax to fund renovations at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs will now, as they have vowed, consider all options. It is fundamentally a business decision. Because professional football ultimately is a business.

What will the Chiefs do when their lease at Arrowhead expires after the 2030 season? They will be geographic free agents, able to do whatever they want to do.

Will they come up with another way to pay for the renovations? Will they try to build in a new location near Kansas City? Willl they try to get public money without a proposal tied to the Royals? Or will they entertain offers from another city that is both willing to come up with the cash — and able to do so without asking for permission from the voters?

Tuesday’s outcome proves that public votes to subsidize stadium construction will rarely if ever work. Most if not all public funding projects happen when the previously elected politicians work the various levers of government to divert cash to renovation or construction. The average voter simply isn’t willing to do it.

Many of them don’t care about sports at all. Plenty of those who do aren’t willing to support what looks like an effort to give free money to those who by all appearances don’t need it.

Moving forward, it comes down to what Clark Hunt chooses to do, and what he’s able to do. Some owners can afford to build their own stadiums. Some owners who are faced with that reality will explore options that include opportunities to generate the revenue that will make it a good investment.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke, for example, willingly plunked down billions to build a stadium in a place with a sufficiently large population base to host large-scale events throughout the calendar.

Really, football stadiums are used less than two full weeks out of the year. On the other 350 or so days, how can those facilities generate income? Inevitably, teams will go where the people are, and thus where the money is.

Again, it’s a business decision. It’s not about loyalty. It’s not about family. It’s about the big mamoo. How much will it cost, and what will the return on the investment be?

The players are pawns in the presentation of the games, and the fans are pawns in the consumption of them. It’s a hard reality that fans of every NFL team in every NFL city needs to realize. The moment it’s no longer good for business to stay in that city is the moment the owner of the team will start looking for a place where business will be better.