Virginia Beach Arena, and Sacramento Kings the latest

August 25th, 2012 at 12:16 am by under News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized

Tuesday is building up to be a big day in Virginia Beach, as two of the largest entertainment companies in the world pitch the city to build a new Arena with the possible guarantee of bringing to the beach an NBA team as the building’s anchor tenant.

It is now official, Peter Luukoo, the president and CEO of Comcast-Spectacor along with Michael Evans, president Live Nation Arenas and Wilson Howard, president of Live Nation’s southeast division have crunched the numbers and are ready to convince the City Council that Virginia Beach can make more than enough money to pay off the debt if the city builds an 18-thousand seat arena near the city’s Convention Center.

And to sweeten the pot, Beach Mayor Will Sessoms told me Thursday Comcast reportedly made a deal with a “major league sports team” to sign a 25 year lease and become the building’s main tenant. Although no specific team has been named, the consensus is that team is the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Unhappy in Sacramento, the Kings have explored moving to several different markets and it’s believed team co-owner Joe Maloof has already visited the beach.

Of course neither the Kings nor the NBA will comment on the report, the Kings moving to Virginia Beach would depend on if the city builds the arena. It would seem silly for them to comment on a deal that hasn’t even been presented to the council. That is not how big business works, and this is big business.

So why would the Kings want to move to Virginia Beach?

The answer is Comcast, the $100 billion dollar entertainment giant that owns a huge cable company, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Arena in Philly, and NBC–one of the four largest TV networks in America.

Comcast also manages arenas, their smaller company Global Spectum runs the Constant Center at Old Dominion. They can promise the Kings a new arena, a market with no major league competition, and a television deal. The city builds the Arena, Comcast-Spectacor runs it, and the Kings sign a 25 year lease.

According to a story by Bob Fernandez in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast and the Sacramento Kings would not be strangers. Comcast carries Kings games on its CSN California regional sports network. An NBA franchise in Virginia Beach could be shown on a separate Comcast-owned regional sports network, SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.

But the Sacramento Kings TV rights would not automatically transfer, an official said.

Hampton Roads, would not be the smallest NBA market. New Orleans, Memphis, and Oklahoma City are smaller, said sports consultant and former NBA executive Ed Desser.

The arena, built to NBA specifications would cost about $350 million; Virginia Beach with its high bond rating could easily get that money in a 25 year loan.

Live Nation, which also owns Ticketmaster, is the world’s biggest concert promoter and ticket seller, is losing money in financially strapped Europe, but is making big profits in Hampton Roads.

The Virginia Beach Amphitheater, which Live Nation manages, is one of the top 5 most profitable venues in the 112 Live Nation stable of venues. The company feels it can make even more money for itself and Virginia Beach if it can bring its big acts to a new arena 12 months a year. Among the acts Live Nation books include Eric Clapton, Radiohead, the Jonas Brothers, Kayne West and the Police. The company has a complete country music division led by Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts.

Although they will not comment until an arena is built, officials from the ACC and NCAA have made it known that both an ACC basketball tournament and NCAA Regional Tournaments would be good possibilities for a new arena.

But starting Tuesday comes the hard part.

Comcast and Live Nation have to convince a majority of the council that they can generate enough money with concerts and sporting events to play off the loan the city would have to borrow to build the arena.

Oklahoma City went another route–adding one penny to the sales tax for five years paid for their new arena which is the home of the Oklahoma Thunder.

Virginia Beach would borrow most of the money for the project, but I would assume they would at least ask for some financial help from the companies involved and the state. Gov. Bob McDonnell has already endorsed the concept, and his office recently gave Redskins owner Daniel Snyder more than six million dollars to keep the team from moving their headquarters to Washington, DC. Income tax from just a team of NBA players alone would provide Virginia with almost $1.5 million dollars a year. Not to mention coaches, and other staff members. Plus the Governor would love to have an NBA team in the Commonwealth.

After Tuesday’s presentation the council will have about 2 months to make a decision–right around election time.

By the way, this is a blog. Not a television story, not a newspaper column it is a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections and comments. Don’t shoot the messenger, read it for what it is. Get involved in the discussion or don’t.

16 Responses to “Virginia Beach Arena, and Sacramento Kings the latest”

  1. WindyCityMike says:

    i would be one of the first in line to be a season ticket holder…or at the very least be at every vaBeach neptune vs chicago bull game…make me proud VA BEACH!!!

    1. Susie Waid says:

      What about the people that lives on the blvd.?

  2. Paul b says:

    There is an old saying, “Nothing is ever as good as it seems or as bad as it seems”.

  3. jim ducibella says:

    Bruce: Good reporting on this story. I found it amusing that Ch. 13 reporter said Will Sessoms wouldn’t comment. I wonder if that was wehen you were sitting in his office? On aspect of this makes no sense to me: The ACC. Isn’t every building they now play their tournament in substantially larger than 18,000 seats? Won’t the ACC have more members than ever, mpre demand for tickets than ever once Syracuse, et al join? It makes absolutely no sense for the ACC to host its tournament at the VB arena when it means that more schools will get fewer tickets. It also does the citizens of Hampton Roads no good to have an event in town they can’t get tickets to. The A10, headquartered in Hampton, would certainly be interested but that wouldn’t have the same appeal as ACC. Ditto if the ACC means its women’s basketball tournament would be a possibility. I’m also pretty sure that the NCAA now plays even first-round games in larger arenas than 18,000, though I could be wrong about that. My bottom line is the perceived lie about the ACC men’s basketball tournament makes me question how really legitimate the whole thing is from Comcast’s POV.

    1. Chris says:

      You are correct on the ACC Tournament arena size (Greensboro holds 23,000 and is the site for the next 3 years) but incorrect for the NCAA Tournament. Many opening weekend sites are far smaller than 18,000 and some don’t even sell out. If NSU, ODU, Hampton or one of the conferences applied to host a sub-regional block at the new arena, it would absolutely be approved.

      By the way, the A-10 would not be interested in playing their tournament here. They are leaving Atlantic City this year for a new five year contract at the new home of the Brooklyn Nets and I can’t imagine them leaving there unless the lease renewal is unfavorable. Scope is hosting the MEAC Tournament through 2015, so that is a possibility if the ACC isn’t interested.

    2. Joe says:

      Come on Jim, you are a good sports guy. Locals can’t get tickets is like saying don’t hold the Super Bowl in New Orleans or AZ because locals can’t get tickets. Those big events are sold via lottery or corporates. Locals can use a little internet site called Stub Hub or the local scalper entrepeneur. I’ve attended many tourney games and what the locals get is tax money from filled eateries and packed hotels and jobs. It would be up to the marketing folks to get those events here. Richmond can be included to some degree but not bottom line. Marketing Mini-game packages would be their biggest contribution. Is it risky, yes? Is it worth it, probably yes. Norfolk had their shot and tried to get a group effort. To the victor belongs the spoils Virginia Beach.

  4. Daniel says:

    Why are we building a $350 million arena when Virginia Beach has some of the worst highways in the country! There are literally speed bumps on Hwy 265! You need 4 wheel drive to drive on some of the “paved roads” around here!!!

    1. Susie Waid says:

      That is very true we do have the worst highways and street’s . That is where we need help.

      1. Barbara says:

        Traffic, parking, fixing roads, stopping crime, and balancing our Budget, should all be taken care of, before spending another red cent.

        Even in the 90′s, it was dangerous to park cars near Scope,
        while attending Hockey games. Traffic was always a problem
        Just as some hotels lost money, when the City financed the
        31st Hilton Hotel and Garage. It looks like some of the
        hotels at the Oceanfront, will be paying more taxes, while
        the income from any arena, will be going elsewhere.

        Why Basketball? Why not Tennis or Hockey? We have a Sportplex,
        Amphitheater, and 30 Bands, blasing “our” Beach this weekend.

        King Neptune, represents a slap in the face, to the 34,000
        Voters, who wanted to keep their Park. If we have a
        Sports team, I think the Cape Henry Lights, Cape Henry Jets,
        or Cape Henry Hornets, might better represent
        the real history of OUR City.

        Vote OUT Sessoms, Wilson and Davis!

  5. Sully the Diehard Pats Fan says:

    Your last disclaimer line is great. Has any of the light rail discussion tied into this? One spur going down to the Arena area, down to the beach and then straight back through to Janaf to meet the Tide would seem to be an automatic to ease traffic concerns.

  6. Chad says:

    We are collecting signatures for support of building the arena at virigniabeachkings.net! Please check it out!

  7. Susie Waid says:

    It’s not a good for the family’s that lives around there we love where we live and Me and My family has been here on the blvd. for 16 years . What about the people in the mobil home park and the rest of family on the blvd.? The noise and traffic . Traffic is bad know and it will be worst . And the Light rail well not make traffic better it didn’t in nofolk did. You still have traffic nothing has changed there at all.

  8. AL Briggs says:

    If this is such a good deal, why do the taxpayers have to fund it?

  9. J B of VB says:

    Hmm, lets see.

    No money for schools.
    No money for roads.
    No money for Light Rail [bet you wish you would have voted that in when u had the chance].

    But, they will consider “borrowing” money for a sports complex to which the road infrastructure cannot support, put it in an area that will cause major discomfort, oh yeah, and we in the end will have to pay for it through more taxes.

    Maybe it would be a great way to get this area on the road to being a ‘Professional Sports’ hub and i am all for that to a point. But when it seems the city caters to big business before its citizens I start to have issues.

    Maybe if they had put our infrastructure first in the past as oppossed to ‘build, build, build’ and worry later, I would be behind this project.

    Cant wait to her the ‘crap’ the city comes up with to justify this.

  10. Martha says:

    Anothet sports arena how about renovate the us women’s field hockey arena? How quickly we forget the$$$ that went into the destroyers football team. They didn’t even complete a season

  11. Hank says:

    Is this another far fetched proposal to the city of Va Beach like last year.
    It sounds like the same old story of the proposals for waterside and the beach.
    Someone realy needs to check into who these developers are and see what projects they have realy built.
    I looks like a scam.

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