Charlotte council approves $260m for arena

The Charlotte, N.C., city council, stung by the loss of the Hornets to New Orleans (sorry, the pun is obligatory), yesterday approved spending $260 million in city money on a new arena for an NBA expansion team starting in 2004. The deal “tentatively commits” (the Charlotte Observer‘s words, not ours) the city to sign an official contract with the NBA by January 12. Under the proposed deal, the city would pay all construction costs, including cost overruns, through a complicated financial plan that would involve hotel taxes and the sale of city land; the team would keep all arena revenues, including naming rights proceeds. Unless the team agrees to pay a substantial rent (the Observer article doesn’t say), this could compete with the Indiana Pacers’ deal for the Conseco Fieldhouse as the most generous public basketball arena subsidy in history.

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