Friday, October 22, 2010

Stern ain't bullish on Sacramento... but here's my solution to the arena problem

According to news reports, NBA commissioner David Stern's 
optimism for a new arena in Sacramento has "faded completely."

What does this exactly mean?

Well, if the commish is bringing the dark clouds, that's a very ominous sign.  

It probably means that we won't have the Kings next season.

And there's no reason to think otherwise.  There's not a single viable plan on the table right now.

What would I do?

Here's my emergency arena plan:

1. Build the new arena in Natomas.  Forget the downtown plan.  It's too complex and costly.  The land is already there in Natomas.  So is the parking.  So is the infrastructure.  And you don't need a slew of environmental reports.

2. Finance the arena with a 5-5-5 plan.  A $5 ticket surcharge on every ticket to every event for the next 20 years.  If you average 125 events and 16,000 tickets, that's $10 million a year and $200 million over 20 years.   With a modern arena with a capacity of 20,000 or more, that should be a semi-reasonable number to hit.  And with this plan, the only people getting taxed are the people using the arena.   Add $5 million a year in rent from the Maloofs and another $5 million a year in naming and endorsement rights (including luxury box pre-sales) and you've got another $200 million.  That's $400 million and should be more than enough dough since you don't need to buy land and build off-ramps and parking structures.

(This just in: After some research, I discovered Edmonton is considering this exact surcharge idea... READ IT.)

3. Partner with a major entertainment company to build a sports-themed entertainment complex on site.  A sort of theme park/restaurant/retail combo.  Maybe build a year-round venue for extreme sports. 

4.  Pass a series of tax breaks for companies that want to build and invest in the new site, helping to bring a stimulus to the local construction economy.

There you go.  Done deal.

I've saved the team.  Maybe even the world.

 I need a nap