SBD/Issue 40/Law & Politics

Decision 2006: Some Sports Venues’ Futures At Stake

With Election Day underway, a number of sports facilities are facing public votes on financing measures for stadium and arena construction. Others could be affected by the outcome of local races.

Kings Withdraw Support Of
Arena-Financing Measures
WAITS & MEASURES: In S.F., Tom FitzGerald noted Measures Q and R in Sacramento County, which would help provide funding for a new arena for the NBA Kings, “don’t even mention the Kings or the site in question.” Residents “are being asked to vote on faith on a potential deal between the NBA club and the city and county about who will pay for what,” but that agreement “hasn’t been reached.” The Kings “have withdrawn their support” of the measures, and it is “unclear what the Maloofs’ next step will be” assuming the measures fail. They “might try to negotiate a new deal” at the downtown railyard site or “try to find other financing for a new arena” near Arco Arena. They “might even petition the NBA to OK a move to Las Vegas” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/5). In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes Sacramento is “abuzz with the theory that the Maloofs sabotaged the election so they could move, or at least preserve their option to do so.” But Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof said, “That has never been true. Why would we be there for seven years working on this if we wanted to move?” Dan Schnur, a Kings fan and Republican strategist, said, “There’s no guarantee the active support of the Kings would get this passed. There’s no question the lack of support will defeat it” (L.A. TIMES, 11/7).

OTHER VOTES: A SEATTLE TIMES editorial states the Sonics “are gone if Seattle voters pass Initiative 91, a misguided initiative requiring a professional sports team that has used taxpayer dollars for a stadium to create the same rate of return of a 30-year U.S. Treasury bond — about 5[%] — to the city.” The measure is a “bad business precedent that will have future implications on the Seahawks and Mariners” and “goes even further by allowing individuals to legally challenge any stadium deal” (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/5)....Voters in Johnson County (MO) will vote on a $75M soccer complex for the MLS Wizards (K.C. STAR, 11/5).

INDIRECT PROPORTIONS: In St. Paul, Dave Orrick notes the result of three contested seats in Anoka County — site of a proposed stadium for the Vikings — “could shift the balance from a stadium-friendly County Board to the opposite.” Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley: “In a sense, this is a referendum on the thing. We could wake up Wednesday ... and not have the votes that we need on the board” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/4)....Int’l Speedway Corp. (ISC) has proposed building an 81,500-seat track in Kitsap County (WA), and NASCAR SCENE’s Bob Pockrass notes in the state house and senate elections in the district that contains the site, “the three incumbents are leaning toward not supporting the ISC proposal.” Two of the three face opponents “who are more favorable toward it” (NASCAR SCENE, 11/2 issue).

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