SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Questions are mounting at Sacramento’s city hall about how much the city could spend on a new downtown arena plan as a possible Kings investment group reportedly asked for more public funding.
Mayor Kevin Johnson appeared on ESPN Thursday trying to sell his plan to block the Maloofs’ sale to Seattle. He said Sacramento could build a downtown arena for less than originally thought for the proposed arena.
“We as a community are going to deliver a brand new downtown arena,” he said.
High-ranking sources inside city hall tell CBS13 an initial meeting between the mayor’s possible investor group and the city was “rocky” when it came to the arena. The investment group initially asked for more public funding than the city had anticipated.
Last year’s city council agreed to spend $255 million in taxpayer money on an arena, but that plan expired when the Maloofs walked out on that agreement. Johnson told ESPN the public contribution for the arena this time around could be lower.
“Essentially we’re going to commit a public investment of $200 to 250 million to build that arena. Again, we know that’s a competitive advantage,” he said.
However, no deal on a new arena financing plan has been reached and the mayor’s big-money investors haven’t made an official offer.
“These guys didn’t get to be billionaires just by being bad negotiators. They are smart negotiators. They will drive a very, very hard bargain. Ultimately, I think it will work out both for them and for the region,” said public relations expert Doug Elmets of Elmets Communications.
A new arena financing plan would have to be voted on by the city council.