The Sacramento Press on ‘Insight’: Getting closer to a new arena
Tuesday on Insight on Capital Public Radio, I spoke with host David Watts Barton and Think Big Sacramento Executive Director Chris Lehane about the tentative arena deal brokered in Orlando that will keep the Kings in Sacramento.
The framework of the agreement was negotiated over the three-day NBA All-Star Weekend during numerous closed-door discussions between Mayor Kevin Johnson, a delegation from Sacramento, Kings’ owners and NBA officials.
The exact terms of the deal will be revealed Thursday, but early reports from the mayor’s office indicated it includes an estimated $75 million contribution from Kings’ owners, the Maloof family, and an estimated $60 million from arena operator Anschutz Entertainment Group.
The Maloofs are reportedly putting up an additional $75 million over 30 years in ticket surcharge revenue from Kings games at the new entertainment and sports complex.
“(This agreement) is the result of everyone stepping up to get (a deal) done,” Lehane said Tuesday. “Arena supporters and Kings’ fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that the team has shown their commitment to staying in Sacramento.”
The deal is far from locked in, however. After the exact terms of the agreement are released Thursday, the City Council will have until March 6 to review the details and prepare for a discussion and vote on the issue.
City Council members have expressed concern about unanswered questions in the financing of a new entertainment and sports complex – primarily related to the potential impact on the general fund from leasing the city’s parking inventory.
If the city completes a lease agreement with a private parking operator, the city stands to lose approximately $9 million in parking revenue annually.
Johnson and Think Big Sacramento representatives have said that there would be no parking deal without a way to replace that lost revenue in the general fund. The means of “backfilling” or recouping that revenue loss have not yet been identified, however.
Another concern that some council members expressed was a desire for regional contribution to the financing of the new entertainment and sports complex.
The County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to contribute evening and weekend use of three county-owned parking facilities near the downtown railyards site, and to contribute the revenue from that use toward the financing of the new arena. That contribution is expected to be approximately $3 million annually.
Five City Council members stood with Johnson at his weekly press conference Feb. 21 as he discussed an adjusted timeframe for delivering an arena financing term sheet to the public.
It seemed to be a show of support from council members for an arena deal – with the caveat that they still need to see the specifics of a deal before they cast their votes.
Johnson has not confirmed that he has the necessary votes to move forward on the arena, but he said in an email statement Monday that the arena deal would not be possible without the support of city staff, the community and the City Council.
“And that’s what we’ve got in Sacramento,” he added.
The City Council will discuss the entire term sheet March 6 and vote whether to continue moving toward a new arena.
Melissa Corker is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.