The ThinkBIG campaign enjoyed a flurry of media attention and fan support towards the end of the basketball season last year when they convinced officials with the NBA to delay the Sacramento Kings move to Anaheim for at least a year while they complied a financial plan towards building a new arena. Now, with less than 40 days until the March 1st deadline and no concrete funding strategy in place, ThinkBIG has released a threatening memo to area business leaders called the “Truth or Consequences” report. Its warning; Build the arena OR ELSE.
The report itself only provides vague references to its source material, and at times contradicts its own statements or makes bold claims without any explanation of its reasoning. For example:
- The report begins by pointing out that Sacramento has the worst performing economy of any large metro region in North America, but fails to point out that at that time we had a professional basketball team.
- Once again, this memo claims that a new arena will create 4,000 jobs and $7 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years. It doesn’t explain how it came to that figure, just like how their report from last summer didn’t bother to explain how they came to that figure.
- The report states that Chicago losses $3.5 million for every lost NBA game, but that figure is based off figures from the 1999 NBA strike, and are over 13 years old. Also, the economic environment of Chicago and Sacramento are not mirror-images of one another; they have vastly different cultural interests and types of sports consumers.
- The memo states (based on 2004 figures) that $1.3 million is generated in economic output per Kings game throughout the region. It does not mention, however, that most sports patrons will spend that money anyways at local businesses in the absence of an event.
- Over 25 major shows came to Sacramento between 2009 and 2011, but if a new arena isn’t built they won’t come back again. Even though the acts were perfectly capable of performing at Arco Arena, for some unknown reason this memo threatens that they may never return without a new venue.
- Of the top ten North American musical tours in 2012, only one is scheduled to play in Sacramento. But to blame that fact on our current arena is a real stretch; the decision not to play in Sacramento probably has more to do with our market share than the building the act would play in. If they could sell the place out, these acts WOULD play at Arco.
The report ends with a scary green or red multiple choice summary; either build the arena or lose the Kings. It makes no mention of the risk involved by potentially leasing away the public parking rights to a private firm for 50 years, it makes no mention of how much the Kings are willing to throw towards this project, and it makes no mention of how the Kings owners lost their fortunes conducting risky business ventures in Las Vegas. At the end of the report, it infers all the responsibility of building a new arena on the public, as if it were our fault that the Kings don’t make enough money in Sacramento.
The fact is, it isn’t the public’s fault that the Kings organization can make more money if they move into another market. And it isn’t the public’s fault that the economy took a dump with Las Vegas suffering the worst of the damage. The last time the public was asked if they wanted to help pay to build an arena, they said no by voting down measures Q and R back in 2006. If the public was willing to pay for a new arena in 2012, ThinkBIG wouldn’t be so desperate as to throw around these poorly argued threats this late in the game.
You can read the memo for yourself here.
Source: Sacramento Business Journal