Sacramento City Council approves arena deal 7-2

They overcame the Maloofs, Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, and forces from Orange County. In the end, the City of Sacramento voted to approve the final form of its downtown arena deal, which will pave the way for site demolition and the eventual construction of the ESC, to be opened as early as 2016 (deadline set by the NBA is the start of the 2017-18 season).

Final estimate of the arena (ESC) cost is $477 million, $222 million coming from the Kings and $255 million from the City. The Kings are providing much of the upfront money while the City secures either short or long-term financing. The team has also asked for a short-term, $12 million loan from the City to cover permits and other related expenses. That request was approved as part of the vote. A CEQA challenge may be filed by opponents as early as tomorrow, but it won’t be able to halt construction.

Sacramento is banking on the arena to revitalize downtown, especially as the venue replaces the largely failed Downtown Plaza mall. While regional spending on Kings games and some concerts/ice shows should show at least a modest improvement due to the ESC replacing Power Balance Pavilion, additional concerts should come thanks to the more attractive facility, which should boost ticket sales and ancillary economic activity. The City is rerouting a great deal of parking revenue to pay for its share with the hope that new construction will spring up the same way Staples Center catalyzed downtown Los Angeles.

Most of the country has not seen the economic boom that hotspots like the Bay Area, Texas, and North Dakota are experiencing. Sacramento is see some improvements, though it’s not close enough to the Bay Area to see any major benefits. Hopefully a widespread boom will sustain growth in downtown Sacramento, because if the country hits another one of those bust cycles, the dream of a revitalized urban core will have trouble coming to fruition. Personally, I’d be more impressed if the many Silicon Valley interests who have ownership stakes in the Kings open offices in the Sacramento area. That would really be putting money where their mouths are.

The large public subsidy remains a sore spot for me. I’m a bit of a hardliner on the issue. I realize that the subsidy issue is often considered a value proposition by many. X dollars may be the price required to attract or retain a team. If the public supports that, so be it. It’s happened in Santa Clara, now in Sacramento, and maybe in the future in Oakland. Nevertheless, I’m happy for Kings fans that they’ll be able to see their team locally for decades to come.


10 thoughts on “Sacramento City Council approves arena deal 7-2

  1. I’m initially a bit skeptical that the new arena will be a draw for major entertainment acts. Sacramento, as I understand it, has a reputation for being unwilling to buy tickets way in advance preferring to wait until a day or two before the performance actually occurs. There is also a preference by some to wait until the day of the concert. This is one of the major reasons that Sacramento is not a preferred venue for major acts (or so I’m told). Performers, of course, tour to make money and they would prefer to know if a venue will be a money maker or not before the actual performance so they can schedule future concerts accordingly. It seems to me that if it is true that Sacramento does have a reputation of being a “walk up” type of town, then it is irrelevant how shiny and new an arena may be. I am currently expecting an initial flurry of name performers to do their thing in the new arena after it is completed, then a fairly quick tapering of such name events. We’ll see.

  2. A lot of the “major” acts – those that would ordinarily go into Oracle or SAP – would not play at ARCO/PowerBalance/SleepTrain because of the facility itself – only one loading dock, insufficient vertical clearance, etc.

    While the location of the arena itself, being downtown and on the RT Metro line and all that, may be an improvement, what will bring better acts into town is the fact that it’s a state-of-the-art facility, with all the modern infrastructure that the current “big” shows need.

  3. Kevin Johnson has swindled the public without a vote.

    The parking revenue projections are not accurate as the numbers are grossly overestimated.

    Any shortfall comes from the general fund. It’s bad news all around and had it gone to a vote it would have been soundly defeated.

    KJ will be long gone before any realizes Sac got a bad deal

  4. The State of California sets off a hypocritical example for itself when it allows the municipality of its state capitol to help provide partial funding towards the building of a new facility for its professional sports team. At the same time, due to their own respective financial limitations, none of California’s other municipalities are able to provide even partial funding to help build much needed new sports facilities for their respective professional sports teams. Compounding the hypocrisy, the fact is that the State of California has eliminated the use of public funding sources marked for general renewal projects that could be used to help fund new professional sports facilities.

  5. @llpec: The trend we should all be hoping for is more and more totally privately funded sports venues.

  6. Raiders stadium cost: $1 billion
    Raiders contribution (probably includes corporate suite and sponsorship sales, naming rights, maybe even (gasp!) PSLs): $400 million
    Private developer contribution (most likely contingent on Davis parting with a sizable percentage of ownership of the team): ?
    NFL contribution: ?
    Oakland contribution: $0.00
    …still doesn’t add up.

    …nice quote in that article: Robert Bobb left Oakland in 2002 (and after now-California Governor Jerry Brown stupidly let him go for trying to build a downtown stadium for the Oakland Athletics, and no, I’m not kidding)

  7. Sacro had no choices. Stern dictated that they must have a new arena by 2017 or the Kings will be gone. No if or but about it. It was their last chance to act and they had to act.

  8. someone help me float a 10 billion dollar bond so my plan can come into action

  9. The Sacramento Bankruptcy Clock has started ticking…

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