Va. Beach Mayor speaks out on Arena Deal and Sacramento KingsJanuary 8th, 2013 at 8:28 am by Bruce Rader under News, Personalities, Sports, Uncategorized
After years of talks, over a million dollars spent on consulting reports, and most recently an NBA team looking to relocate, time has run out for now regarding plans to build a new arena in Virginia Beach with the Sacramento Kings as the building’s main tenant.
Today, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and Peter Lukko, the president of Comcast Spectacor, acknowledged they are no longer hopeful a deal can be made with the next week or so to bring a major league sports team to Virginia, that team being the Kings.
“Both parties remain committed to the concept of an arena in Virginia Beach and to continuing discussions with a potential anchor tenant. That said, we have not reached a level of progress that will allow the city to go before the General Assembly to request the necessary funding.”
So, the Kings will not be signing an agreement to come to Virginia Beach.
I spoke with Mayor Sessoms today and asked him if he was disappointed. He said, “Yes, but at the same time looking ahead to the future, and seeing opportunites like this again we know what to be prepared for. One city can’t do this alone in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I think we will have an opportunity like this again, hopefully in the very near future. Based on our experience I believe we will be able to negotiate better, have our partnerships in place with whoever we do this with ahead of time, and get out to the community ahead of time.”
Without that agreement with the Kings, Virginia Beach will not ask state legislators for the 150-million dollars they need to finance the deal.
Thus the Kings, who have never publicly admitted they were considering the move to Virginia, will most likely explore other options. Whether it be selling the team to folks in Seattle, perhaps working a deal to move the team to Anaheim, or just staying put in Sacramento.
There is no way to tell today just how far apart the various parties were from agreeing to a deal–Beach officials were adamant they would not build the arena unless they could guarantee no risk to the taxpayer. And the Kings obviously weren’t going to make the move unless they were convinced it was a good deal for them.
Time has run out, the city needed a deal to take to the state, saying the $150 million was critical to make the project happen.
If there is a positive to the arena talks–it re-energized the entertainment complex planned for the old Dome site at the Oceanfront. That project, to be built by producer Michael Jenkins, using $120 million of his own money, should be finalized soon.
I’ll have more on the Mayor’s arena statement later today, and on WAVY News 10 at 6pm.