Voters' rejection of stadium funding indictment of teams' public campaign, communications professor says

LAWRENCE — Jackson County, Missouri, voters rejected a sales tax proposal April 2 to fund a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals and renovations to the Chiefs’ home Arrowhead Stadium. While neither team has announced what move it will make next, the vote has signaled uncertainty about the organizations’ future. 

Christopher Etheridge, a researcher who studies sports media and society, community groups and communication strategies, is available to speak with media about the vote, how it was presented to residents and more.

Etheridge, assistant professor of journalism & mass communications at the University of Kansas, said the results indicate the Royals and Chiefs did not present the issue to voters as well as they could have.

"The overwhelming response from Jackson County voters yesterday feels like a push back against how the two teams handled the public campaign. The Chiefs just won the Super Bowl, and Arrowhead is hosting the World Cup in two years, so asking voters to maintain current tax rates should sail right through,” Etheridge said.

“But the Royals' stadium proposal rollout lacked a clear public outreach and communication plan. In today's economic climate, you need overwhelming support from political and business leaders and a vision that is clear, consistent and transparent. They didn't have either of those."

Etheridge can discuss media coverage of the vote, next steps for the two teams, community groups’ communication on the issue and more. He has published and presented research on media coverage of difficult topics, writing instruction, digital strategies of community organizing, sports communication strategies and more. To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or

Wed, 04/03/2024


Mike Krings

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