The “K” or the Kauffman Stadium is a baseball park located in the Kansas City, MO. It is the home of Kansas City Royals that participates actively in Major League Baseball (MLB). The park is part of the Truman Sports Complex which includes Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs, part of the National Football League. The stadium was named for the founder and the first owner of the Royals, Ewing Kauffman.
The construction for the stadium began in the period when building multisport stadiums was common. The K Park often receives a strong comparison with that of the Dodger Stadium located in Los Angeles. The reason is due to the modern design approach. The stadium is the only in the country to retain its name after a person and also one among the ten MLB stadiums that do not have a corporate a sponsored name.
The Kauffman Stadium is one among the oldest baseball parks in the country and hosted the 1973 and 2012 All-Star Games. It further hosted the home games for Royals in 1980, 1985, 2014, and 2015. The park received a major upgrade between 2007 and 2009 with an investment of $250 million. The updates include new fan amenities, Royals Hall of Fame, and major renovations across the facility.
It all began in the year 1967 when Jackson County voters approved Truman Sports Complex bonds. The complex would feature a football stadium and the baseball stadium. The owner signed a lease to remain in the city, which was an unusual proposal. It was a tough time, and building separate stadiums was not a commercially viable option. In July 1973 the Royals stadium hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Games. In 1980, it hosted the first World series featuring the hometown, the Royals. It was in 1985 that the Royals clinched the first World Series title.
The Kauffman Stadium is the only baseball park to be constructed during the majors between 1966 and 1991. It is also one of the two facilities (Dodger stadium being the other) that never saw the conversion into a multi-purpose stadium. The design of the park took cues from that of the Googie style that was a major attraction during that period. In 2000, the stadium saw a change in the seating system where even the lower section received the cupholders.
One significant attraction of the stadium is the waterfall display and fountain located behind the right-field fence. The privately funded fountain stands at 322 feet and operates before and after the game.
When built originally, Kansas City was part of the major league on the Pacific Coast, and hence, decided to make AstroTurf surface. The territory includes the Rockies and Great Plains, and Kauffman did not want fans who drove hundreds of miles without watching the game until the end. George Toma, the legendary groundskeeper, had the job of maintaining two turfs as he also tended to Arrowhead Stadium from 1972 till 1993. Along with his crew, he retained the original condition of the turf of the Royal Stadium for over two decades. The reason for the extended lifespan was because they did not host a football game.
The Jackson County voters approved an increase in the sales tax by 0.375% to collect funds and renovate the Truman Sports Complex. Because of this measure, every residential address received vouchers worth 50% for two tickets on special nights for the Royals games. The renovations began in the year 2007 and completed on time for the opening day in the year 2009. However, Arrowhead Stadium reopened the following year due to cost escalations.
The Kansas City Royals agreement expired in 2015. However, the team extended their commitment to representing the city until 2030 after the renovation. The improvements include:
- Reduction in capacity
- Addition of high definition scoreboard and control room
- Fountain view terraces
- Kids area
- Outfield concourse
- Taste of KC
- Sports bar-themed restaurant
- Hall of Fame and conference center
- New sales area
- Wider concourses
- Improved press facilities
- Four revamped entry gates
- Enhanced circulation at all levels
Replacement of the scoreboard was the first along with the Royals logo that was part of the Kauffman Stadium since the beginning.
The Legacy Seat
Among all the revamped blue seats as part of the renovation program, the Royals installed one red seat to honor Buk O’Neil. For every game, the community members select a person who expresses the spirit of Buk O’Neil.
So if you are looking for something to do on your trip to Kansas City, MO, be sure to check out Kauffman stadium. You won’t be disappointed.