SBD/August 27, 2012/Facilities

Virginia Beach Mayor Says Arena Funding Would Need Help From NBA, Comcast, State

If a proposed 18,000-seat arena near Virginia Beach "moves forward, it will be a group exercise,” and city Mayor Will Sessoms said that the estimated cost of between $275-400M "would require it,” according to Applegate & Walker of the Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT. Sessoms said, "This is something Virginia Beach cannot take on on its own.” He added that the city “could not build it without financial help from” Comcast-Spectacor, the state and the NBA. Sessoms: "I would assume from out of those three, there's got to be some cash." He added that he was “told by Comcast-Spectacor representatives that revenue generated by the arena would pay debt service on any city funding for the project” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/25). Hampton Roads Partnership President & CEO Dana Dickens said that the region’s buying power “should be a net plus as three corporations and the Virginia Beach City Council consider whether to build an arena at the Oceanfront.” He said, “We have the income and population level here to buy the tickets to support a major sports team.” The '10 Census showed that Hampton Roads “has 1.67 million people … compared with more than 1.7 million for Charlotte and 1.3 million for Oklahoma City” (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/25). In Virginia Beach, Bob Molinaro wrote it is “premature to broach the subject, but some people naturally wonder if this area can support an NBA franchise.” Molinaro asked, “If it comes down to the Kings, though, the question needs rephrasing to, ‘Can Hampton Roads support a bad NBA franchise?’" (, 8/25).

: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton wrote NBA Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof “aren’t talking -- and when they do, nobody should trust them anyway -- so Virginia Beach seems plausible even in absence of any facts.” Breton: “These guys will go wherever they can get a city to build them an arena for free, raising the value of their franchise while they retain control of it. They want everything for nothing” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/26). Also in Sacramento, Tom Couzens wrote under the header, “Maloofs Owe Kings Fans Real Answers” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/26).
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