SBD/December 5, 2012/Facilities

Comcast President States Negotiations For Va. Beach Arena "Moving Forward"

Luukko said he and the NBA are still negotiating, but are "not there yet"
Comcast-Spectacor President & COO Peter Luukko yesterday "repeated his contention ... that Hampton Roads is ripe for a facility" and said that negotiations with a team are "moving forward," according to Aaron Applegate of the Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT. Luukko said, "We're still negotiating. We're negotiating hard. We're making progress, but we're not there yet." Luukko "declined to name the team." Virginia Beach Economic Development Dir Warren Harris said that the project "is at a 'very critical' stage as it relates to the team." The City Council is "scheduled to decide next week whether to move forward to the next stage of negotiations, and all indications on Tuesday were that they will proceed" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 12/4). Harris said that if an NBA team decides to relocate to Virginia Beach, it could “temporarily play in arenas as far west as Richmond over the next two seasons while a new area is built near the oceanfront.” Harris added that Richmond was “among the sites under consideration to serve as a temporary venue.” The NBA deadline for a team to file an application to move is March 1 (AP, 12/5).

MAYORAL MUSINGS: In Sacramento, Tony Bizjak writes as "upbeat Virginia Beach officials on Tuesday pushed forward with their effort to land an unnamed professional sports team," Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson "lamented that he once again has that helpless feeling of watching a 'slow death'" with rumors linking NBA Kings Owner the Maloof family to the Virginia Beach facility. Johnson said that Sacramento "deserves better than to be left hanging." He said, "I don't like not being able to fight and not being able to determine the outcome." He added, "If they believe they need to look at their options in Seattle and Virginia Beach, then there's nothing we as a community or I as a mayor can do to prevent that." Johnson said that the financing plan for a downtown arena "crafted earlier this year is still on the table" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/5). Also in Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes it is "hard to tell whether the Maloofs are purposely letting the Kings die on the vine to make it easier for them to move the franchise or if this is the best they can do." Few people are "going to games, tickets are selling for peanuts on the Internet, the team is more dismal than ever and excels mostly in play suspensions" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/5).
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