Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156


The Sacramento City Council yesterday gave its approval for the city to "begin negotiations with investors interested in building a new arena that would potentially keep the NBA Kings in town,” according to Bob Condotta of the SEATTLE TIMES. The measure, which “was approved 7-2, also called for $150,000 for attorneys and arena-financing experts.” The vote came “at the end of a roughly 90-minute discussion of the arena, which included comment from members of the public both for and against the project.” The vote “did not include any specifics concerning which investors the city will negotiate with, a location of the arena, or how much public money would be involved.” Sacramento City Manager John Shirey said that he “hoped to present a financing term sheet to the council by mid-April.” There were “several reports” that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson “could unveil the ownership group during his annual State of the City address" tomorrow night. Johnson has a “self-imposed deadline of Friday to announce his ownership group and arena plan.” The vote last night “allows the city to begin officially negotiating with the team of investors, which is expected to include” Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness co-Founder Mark Mastrov (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/27). Shirey said, "Nothing gets approved until this City Council approves a preliminary term sheet and gives us the authority to proceed further." Most council members said that they were “comfortable allowing Shirey to work on that term sheet, knowing they will have final say over whether the plan is accepted” (, 2/26).

DEAL DETAILS: In Sacramento, Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler in a front-page piece note Sacramento city officials “have acknowledged that while some of the deal points from last year's failed arena plan remain in place, the term sheet they will negotiate will likely be substantially different this time around.” The city will “negotiate with a potential new ownership group of the Kings and will explore building a facility at the site of Downtown Plaza after settling on the downtown railyard last year.” As it was in last year's “failed arena plan, the majority of the city's contribution is expected to be generated through the leveraging of downtown parking operations through either a city-operated finance authority or a lease agreement with a private operator.” That plan could "account for as much as" $250M. Land sales, ticket surcharges and assessments “paid by property owners near the arena are also on the table.” Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said that it was “the city's preference to own the arena and lease its use to the Kings and an operator.” Any arena agreement “must also come with a long-term commitment by the Kings to remain in Sacramento” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27).

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes, “Either the Kings stay or they go, but please -- no more limbo and time-wasting speculation beyond April when the NBA is poised to settle where the Kings will reside.” Breton writes, "A downtown arena to house the Kings and showcase premiere entertainment events could be a way to revitalize a sagging urban core, the primary reason I'd love for the team to stay here." Breton: "Should any of us be fans of subsidies for billionaires? No. Are many of us fans of downtown Sacramento? Yes. Absolutely.” If Johnson “follows through on his promise to recruit big-money equity partners to bid for the Kings as a downtown tenant, then great.” But if a Seattle bid to “steal the Kings proves too tempting for the NBA -- a strong possibility -- then let's move on as a community trying to position itself to flourish in the next economy” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27).

DONE DEAL: Seattle City Council member Nick Licata said that it is “basically a ‘done deal’ that the proposed new Seattle arena will be located in Sodo, where investor Chris Hansen already owns a swath of land for developing his vision of a state-of-the-art basketball, hockey and concert venue.” In Seattle, Nick Eaton noted Licata’s comments came Monday morning “after the council got an update on the arena project.” The city and King County are “in the middle of a state-mandated environmental review for the proposed venue, including a study not just of the Sodo location south of Safeco Field but also the area" where KeyArena currently stands (, 2/26).

EPL clubs Manchester United and Liverpool are "being eyed for a future appearance at Bank of America Stadium," according to a source cited by Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The game would "come as part of the increased access the city will get to the NFL stadium as part of the deal being negotiated with local and state government for public funding of improvements to the facility." Terms of the stadium proposal endorsed by the Charlotte City Council "call for the city, working through the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, to use the stadium rent-free for five days each year." One of the dates will be "used for the Belk Bowl college football game," while the other four dates would be "available any time during the NFL off-season, between January and June." CRVA CEO Tom Murray said, "We’ll have to look at what kinds of events are out there, but we’re thinking soccer, lacrosse, big events like that." He added that it is "too early to say which specific events might be targeted for the city's stadium dates." He said that "little has been done because the negotiations on the stadium renovations and public financing remain in the early stages" (, 2/26).

MLBAM last night announced a new mobile-based, seat-upgrade effort as part of a larger refresh of its At The Ballpark venue-oriented app. The Braves and Twins will offer seat upgrades through the app early in the '13 season, followed by roughly another 10 teams by midseason. Specific components of the seat upgrades will vary somewhat from club to club, similar to how individual club strategies differ on dynamic pricing. But the upgrades will include both better seat locations as well the opportunity to purchase various experiences once a fan arrives at a venue. MLBAM made the announcement yesterday at its second annual fan upfront in N.Y., which nearly doubled its turnout to more than 300 people. MLBAM is working on the seat upgrade effort with Experience, an Atlanta-based tech startup that has previously worked with the Celtics, Clippers, Hawks and MLS Galaxy, among others. "The better location is only going to be part of this," said MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman. "We're looking at experiential upgrades as well. We think there's a lot of value to be offered here." The refreshed At The Ballpark app also will include nine additional teams and 13 overall this season offering mobile ticketing through Passbook, Apple's portal for users to store tickets, boarding passes, brand-loyalty programs and other similar materials. The Giants, Mets, Royals and Red Sox began testing Passbook late last season, with adoption rates far above initial expectations. The quartet will be joined this season by the Twins, Tigers, Brewers, A's, Orioles, Pirates, Cubs and two other still-unannounced clubs. MLBAM also used Passbook as a means of entry to the upfront last night to further show its rising interest in the technology. Interactive rewards programs, such as what the Dodgers recently announced, also will be incorporated into the new version of At The Ballpark.