Is Virginia Beach Really Going to Spend $300+ Million to Bring in the Kings?

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Our favorite stadium financing expert Neil de Mause has been chronicling the emergence of Virginia Beach, Va., as a possible home for the Sacramento Kings. (So be sure to visit his site for the latest developments and much more.)

Late last week, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms explained how the city, the state and Comcast would all work together to bring in an unnamed sports franchise. According to the Virginian-Pilot:

In a quick message to the City Council at the end of its regular meeting Tuesday, Sessoms laid out what the three players – the city, the state and a private company – would bring to the table to build the arena now estimated to cost $300 million.

The city would contribute $195 million. The state will be asked for $150 million, of which $70 million would be for the arena, and Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company that would lease and operate the arena and is working to recruit the pro sports team, would put in $35 million.

Now, keep in mind that $80 million of the state’s $150 million contribution would simply go to pay for the NBA’s relocation fee to other owners. And keep in mind that the city would have to borrow to pay for an arena that doesn’t actually have a tenant.

What has happened in the five years since Kansas City built a $275 million arena to lure an NBA or NHL team? Absolutely nothing. No team. No hope for a team. Perhaps Virginia Beach politicians should consider KC before moving forward.

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