SBD/August 13, 2014/Facilities

Hornets, City Of Charlotte Plan To Renovate Arena In Effort To Land NBA All-Star Game

Hugo delivered Charlotte's bid to host All-Star Game to the NBA's Mark Tatum
The Hornets yesterday formally announced their intentions to bid on either the '17 or '18 NBA All-Star Game, and Charlotte Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble said that the city "aims to unveil a plan within a month" detailing renovations to Time Warner Cable Arena, according to a front-page piece by Jim Morrill of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has indicated that the team and the city of Charlotte "needs to upgrade" the nine-year-old arena in order to host an ASG. Charlotte is "competing with up to 10 cities" to land the event, and the NBA is "expected to narrow the list this fall and make its final decision" next year. Kimble said that upgrades to the arena "would not be paid for from a property tax increase but with revenues from rental car taxes and hotel/motel taxes." The Hornets and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority in March gave the city a $42M "list of requested improvements to the city-owned arena." The list included "suite improvements, restaurant renovations and moving the ticket office." But Kimble "suggested the final figure for the arena would be less than" $42M when he makes a recommendation to the Charlotte City Council. Morrill notes the city "paid for and owns the building." The CRVA "operates 'back of the house' functions such as HVAC, and is reimbursed for those services by the Hornets." Neither Kimble nor Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield "would say whether the team plans to contribute to the renovations." Whitfield called it "an ongoing conversation" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/13).

SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler writes, "If you build a big-time arena, like Charlotte has, you have to bid on things like the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game." There is "no way" an NBA ASG is worth $42M in upgrades "all by itself." But the arena "hosts more than 150 events a year," so it is "not just about one All-Star Game." Fowler: "Most of that money is going to be paid out anyway under those lease terms. If you are the city, you might as well smile while you are writing the check and get a showcase event out of it, too" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/13).
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