Va. Beach Council Member Says Region Lacks Interest To Support NBA Franchise
The Virginia Beach City Council this afternoon is set to hear a proposal for a new arena, but Council member Bill DeSteph said that there "is not enough interest in current sports teams to support what could be an up to $400 million sports/entertainment arena," according to Andy Fox of WAVY.com. DeSteph said the AHL Norfolk Admirals "won the equivalent of the Stanley Cup," yet there were "still seats to be had and they were giving tickets away." Virginia Beach Mayor Bill Sessoms said, "I would look for help from the Commonwealth, from special tax districts at the oceanfront, perhaps an increase on the tax on hotel rooms and ticket sale revenues which could be huge" (WAVY.com, 8/28). The NBA Kings have been linked to the arena plan, to which Council member John Moss said, "If they're coming to tell us they're using their own money, I'm ecstatic. But if they want free land or any other money, I'm not the least bit interested." Moss added that he thinks arena proponents "will have a difficult time persuading a majority of the 11-member council to support the plan if it involves public assistance." Council member James Wood said, "I think (the region) could support a pro sports team; I just don't know if it would make sense for us. These projects require a pretty healthy public subsidy, and I just don't know that Virginia Beach is ready to step up and do that" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/28). A poll of Hampton Roads, Va., metropolitan-area residents indicated that 49% believe "there isn't a strong enough fan base" to support an NBA team (DAILYPRESS.com, 8/28).
A LITTLE TOO QUIET: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes, "This is only the latest chapter in the simmering Kings arena/relocation drama that will persist into the upcoming season, perhaps into subsequent seasons, and is sure to involve at least another half-dozen or more cities." Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof "need to show something." Voisin: "Scream. Shout. Sob. Throw a temper tantrum. Tell their critics to jump off a building. Do something, anything, to demonstrate that they haven't fled the market." The Maloofs' "silence on this Virginia Beach situation is killing them." Voisin: "An emphatic denial would have temporarily tabled the relocation issue, and in effect directed attention toward the upcoming season" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/28).