The Sacramento Kings and their namesake city have struck a tentative deal on a new downtown arena, meaning if Seattle does manage to snag an NBA franchise, it won't be theirs. But the terms of the Sacramento arena proposal do highlight what a kick-ass deal Seattle negotiated with its prospective franchise owner.
According to news reports, Sacramento taxpayers will put up to $250 million into the new arena, with team's owners forking over only $75 million. By comparison, Seattle's contribution is capped at $200 million, with mystery money-man Chris Hansen promising $290 million, plus all cost overruns. Sweet.
Seattle's arena proposal is also structured to have no negative impact on general fund revenues, with debt service on 30-year-bonds paid through a combination of rent and arena taxes (admissions, sales, B&O, property). Sacramento's contribution, on the other hand, will be raised by leasing out city-owned downtown parking garages... garages that already contribute revenue to the city's general fund. A portion of this lost revenue will be made up through ticket surcharges, but not all of it, and there are no guarantees.
Yeah, yeah, I know... the Seattle arena deal can't possibly be as good or as airtight as Mayor Mike McGinn says it is, which is why he's convened an Arena Review Panel to comb through the details. Their first meeting is Wednesday, 5PM at City Hall, and it's open to the public. So if you have your doubts, get off my ass in the comment threads, and show up in person.