Four years after its opening, Sprint Center “has never seemed further from landing an anchor tenant,” according to the K.C. STAR's Pete Grathoff, who writes under the header, "Sprint Center Doing Fine Without NHL Or NBA Franchise.” The NBA is “embroiled in a labor dispute that makes expansion appear ludicrous and relocation a long shot.” The Thrashers recently relocated to Winnipeg, but there was “nary a mention of the team moving to KC.” Former Predators investor William “Boots” Del Biaggio at one time “showed interest in owning an NHL team that would play at the Sprint Center,” but he was “apparently alone.” It appears that AEG, which operates the facility, had “no backup plan when Del Biaggio bugged out.” AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke "declined to comment" on if someone else is looking to bring a team to K.C. because he is on the NHL Exec Committee, which oversees team relocations. Grathoff notes one thing Leiweke “did promise -- and deliver on -- was that the arena would be successful with or without an anchor tenant.” The city’s share of Sprint Center revenues last year was $1.8M, “thanks largely to a seemingly endless string of major entertainment events.” Meanwhile, the most recent Forbes valuations “showed that 33 of 60 NHL and NBA teams had negative operating profits.” The arena also was a “key component in keeping the Big 12 basketball tournament in town.” Adding an anchor tenant at the Sprint Center “could make it difficult for AEG to schedule concerts, which has earned the company a pretty penny.” NBA Commissioner David Stern in April said that his league “hasn’t ruled out Kansas City as a potential market.” But while the Hornets are “often rumored to be a relocation candidate,” Webster Univ. economics professor Patrick Rishe “has his doubts.” Rishe: “I think if you’re going to see anything in the NBA, it’s going to be contraction of two teams at some point in the next couple of years rather than seeing a relocation” (K.C. STAR, 7/15).
In Minneapolis, Kaszuba & Olson noted soon after the Minnesota legislature reached a "tentative budget deal," the Vikings said that they were prepared to reach an agreement for a new stadium, and that there "had in fact been stadium meetings Thursday with legislators." Minnesota House of Representatives Speaker Kurt Zellers, however, "was much more vague." Zellers said, "We haven’t had any discussions about what’s in, what’s not, in that proposal. ... We haven’t looked at for weeks, you know -- I would say even months, about where they are, where they’ve been." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton agreed, saying that "he too had not discussed the Vikings stadium in weeks -- but he said he would be seeking an update of where the stadium plan stood" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 7/14).
FAST BREAK OFFENSE: In Sacramento, Ryan Lillis reports members of Mayor Kevin Johnson's task force studying a new downtown arena for the Kings "canvassed the suburbs in a bus on Thursday, expanding their sales pitch in an effort to drum up regional support." Task force members said that they "are focusing on funding mechanisms that would target those who use the new arena -- not a general sales tax like the one voters overwhelmingly shot down in 2006." Lillis notes "possibilities include surcharges on Kings tickets and other arena events; a fee placed on parking for arena events in the 8,000 city-owned spaces near the facility; and corporate sponsorships and purchases of luxury seating." A detailed funding plan "is not expected for another eight weeks" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/15).
EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN: In California, Brenda Gazzar reports the Rose Bowl's $152M renovation project "faces a $2.2 million shortfall after construction bids exceeded estimates, bringing the total financing gap to about $14 million." While bids for "three recent bid packages came in within budget, two others involving steel and demolition work for the soon-to-be widened press box came in significantly over-budget." Stadium and project officials Thursday "recommended the RBOC board award the two bid packages totaling about $16 million anyway, arguing they would be receiving fair value for the work" (PASADENA STAR-NEWS, 7/15).
ALL OPPOSED? On Long Island, Hadrick & Brodsky report the Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Thursday "expressed reservations about County Executive Edward Mangano's plan to redevelop" Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders "with up to $400 million in borrowed money." NIFA asserted that the "total of borrowing to fund the project will exceed $800 million over 30 years when interest costs are included and that property taxes will have to increase 3.5 percent to 4 percent to pay for it." The authority also "rejected Mangano's recently revised multiyear financial plan, removing $225 million in projected revenues and savings that the county executive had included in his budget for next year, and ordered the county to submit new deficit-closing solutions by July 28" (NEWSDAY, 7/15).