Arena: Sacramento looking for approximately $80-million upfront from Kings/NBA

Updated: 1:33 pm PST

Photo: Steven Chea

How much will the Sacramento Kings and NBA pay in the effort to construct a new arena in California’s capital city?

Although exact figures are yet to be established, a source has shared with Cowbell Kingdom that the city is looking for roughly $80 million from the league and team.

Not over time, but in advance.

When reached via e-mail for clarification on this figure, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league would not comment at this time.

On this week’s Cowbell Kingdom podcast, Think Big Sacramento project manager Jeremiah Jackson shed some light on the commitment the city wants from the NBA and Maloofs.

“We’re talking about an upfront lease payment,” said Jackson on Monday. “So it’d essentially be, they’d pay upfront for the rights to be the tenant for that 30-year period.”

This means that the price tag of paying in advance to be the arena’s anchor tenant would cost the NBA and Maloofs less than $3 million a year.

Where does the $80 million figure come from?

According to CK’s source,  the city is looking for approximately $130 million in “private financing.”  AEG, the stadium operator involved for much of this process, supplied Kansas City with $53 million upfront to build the Sprint Center.  CK’s source confirmed that a similar number is being floated for the rights to run a new downtown arena, leaving roughly $80 million for the Kings and NBA.

In his weekly feature at Cowbell Kingdom, contributor Rob McAllister spoke to “two executive level employees within the Kings organization, who are not allowed to publicly discuss the arena project”.  And according to his sources, “there is a strong belief that the league will come up with rest (of the funds) if the numbers are close”

In addition to a 30-year lease with the NBA and Kings and an agreement with a potential stadium operator, an estimated $200 million or more could come from leasing city-owned parking spaces and garages.

“So, the parking deal, AEG’s portion of this, the team and the NBA’s portion of this – we’re looking to line up as much of that money upfront as possible,” Jackson said.  “And really leave the city with no need to have long-term debt.”

Jackson also added that a goal of the project has always been to “protect the taxpayers.”

“Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see the council move forward with the parking deal and really get us to a point where the NBA feels comfortable and that they eventually decide to stay in Sacramento for the long term as we get this deal finished up.”

Jackson also addressed rumors that surfaced this weekend regarding the possibility of the Kings moving to Seattle.

“We’re not concerned with these other cities,” Jackson said. “I think there’s always going to be rumors until you actually get a deal done.

“But every indication is that the NBA is committed to Sacramento,” Jackson added. “And if there is a deal to get done here, and we get it done, the team will stay and hopefully the Maloofs will remain owners of the team…”

James Ham is co-editor of Cowbell Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.


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