Ongoing talks “positive” to keep Chiefs camp in St. Joseph

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Talks between the Kansas City Chiefs and Missouri Western State University to keep the club’s training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., remain positive, according to team and university sources, suggesting the club plans to return for at least the 2018 season.

Aug. 3, 2015; St. Joseph, MO; Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston signs autographs after a training camp practice at Missouri Western State University. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Missouri Western and the Chiefs hold mutual one-year options for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Both sides indicated in August an interest in renewing the agreement. Team president Mark Donovan initially set an ambitious timeline for announcing plans for 2018.

“Our intention is to come back,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said in August. “We’ll know what we’re doing for next year within three weeks after camp this year.”

The lack of an announcement, however does not suggest any hesitation on the part of the Chiefs or the university to keep training camp in St. Joseph for 2018, according to a team official. Discussions remain positive, but the team does not have a timetable for an official announcement yet.

A Missouri Western official also described discussions about keeping training camp in St. Joseph as “very positive.”

The Chiefs used the last renewal window with university to negotiation training camp upgrades, including renovation of the team’s practice fields.

The five-year agreement signed in 2009 to bring the Chiefs to St. Joseph included five additional one-year options. The team used the option to negotiate a three-year extension through 2017 with single-year options for 2018 and 2019 contingent on the university updating the fields.

The university received $300,000 in tax credits in 2015 to leverage with $600,000 in contributions toward rebuilding the two grass practice fields on campus.

“We had a couple of things we wanted to change a couple of years ago and the university over delivered on that,” Donovan said.

The Chiefs have a financial incentive to keep training camp in Missouri.

The Missouri Development Finance Board provided $25 million in tax credits bring the team’s training camp to Missouri from River Falls, Wis. The deal requires the Chiefs to keep their training camp in Missouri through 2019 or pay penalties of $500,000 or more.

The team could host training camp at its facility at the Truman Sports Complex. The move would require upgrades at the training facility to accommodate of players, team staff and fans.

Donovan said in August the team has explored other off-site options but said none provided serious competition to camp at Missouri Western.

“We like it here,” Donovan said of training camp in St. Joseph. “We like the relationship, we like the efficiency, we like the familiarity and consistency. So I think it would be tough for somebody to come in and wow us and take it away from here.”


Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.