Stadiums and arenas and funding: Sacramento and Seattle edition
Image from a report commissioned by Think Big Sacramento, a "public-private partnership group" advocating for a new basketball arena in Sacramento.
Seattle has been feeling dissed since the Supersonics basketball team decamped for Oklahoma City. In the meantime, the City of Sacramento has been wrent with how to pay for a new arena for the Sacramento Kings, to keep the team.
Earlier this week, Chris Hansen, a California hedge fund financier with Seattle roots, put forth a proposal ("Arena plan looks solid, but is it?" from the Seattle Times) to build a new arena in Seattle with the expressed desire to purchase a basketball team to fill it (Sacramento?). So the pressure is on Sacramento.
While he isn't interested in hockey, the money losing Phoenix (really "Glendale") Coyotes hockey team, currently owned by the league, could end up moving to Seattle as well. I was flabbergasted to learn last week, in coverage from the Arizona Republic ("Glendale's bond refinancing didn't live up to hopes" and "NHL officials rule out fan ownership of Coyotes") that the City of Glendale, where the Coyotes play, is paying tens of millions of dollars--$50 million total just for last year and this year--to the National Hockey League to keep the team in their city. The city will be hard pressed to pay another $25 million next year...
Meanwhile, and interesting, a separate proposal is floating in Sacramento that a parking surcharge (tax) could be imposed on game nights, to help pay for a new arena ("Poll queries residents about arena parking surcharge," Sacramento Bee) since unlike in larger center cities, most of the attendees are likely to drive rather than to use transit. From the article:
An opinion poll circulating this weekend asks Sacramento city residents whether they would support a $1 to $3 surcharge on out-of-town motorists who park in city garages when sports, concerts or other entertainment events are being held at a planned downtown arena.
The phone survey was paid for by several local businesses in conjunction with Mayor Kevin Johnson's Think Big Sacramento organization, said Chris Lehane, Think Big executive.
A parking surcharge on non-city residents is not, however, part of the city's still-forming financing plan for a $387 million arena, a top city official said Saturday.
It's interesting to consider what cities are willing to scramble and pay for. I was just looking at some photos of Madrid's public spaces and architecture by Steve Mouzon, and at least historically, while Madrid did invest in arenas and such, they also invested heavily in the quality of public spaces and public life.