Bobcats use “state-of-the-art” clause to demand $42m in upgrades to 8-year-old arena

Friday afternoon, finally I can relax from a crazy week and not have to worry about any breaking sports subsidy news interrupting my — wait, what?

To keep Time Warner Cable Arena among the NBA’s most modern buildings, the Charlotte Bobcats and tourism officials have submitted a $41.9 million list of improvements to the city of Charlotte.

The request includes suite improvements, restaurant renovations and moving the ticket office at the 8 1/2-year-old facility.

And why, exactly, would the city of Charlotte do that? I mean, sure the city just gave $87.5 million to the Carolina Panthers for upgrades to their stadium, but the Bobcats‘ arena isn’t even a decade old, and presumably they have a lease binding them to the place for—

The lease calls for the city to make improvements to the building to keep it among the most modern in the NBA, to ensure the team can “maintain economic competitiveness and revenue potential.”

Oh.

There could still be some haggling involved over the exact upgrades and cost ($1.42 million to relocate the ticket office, that’s seriously an issue of “economic competitiveness”?) before this is all over. But the point here to remember is: Do not allow state-of-the-art clauses in your sports leases, people. They are licenses for teams to write themselves checks at public expense, or even worse, demand new buildings before the old ones are paid off. Maybe city officials would start listening to me if I charged a $50,000 consulting fee…


5 comments on “Bobcats use “state-of-the-art” clause to demand $42m in upgrades to 8-year-old arena

  1. And I will bitch about this again: I proposed a concrete dome arena in the Asheville area for just $25-40 million and the State stopped it. Both my County Commission and Town Council allowed me to make presentations, both were interested. The local sports commission also showed interest.

    But the State blocked the project with their pathetic excuses, then allowed Charlotte to give a football BILLIONAIRE $87.5 million and will likely cave in to Michael Jordan here.

    Why is it the State’s business who grows and who does not? A tax that is good enough for Charlotte is good enough for every local government.

  2. Weird how ticket office = state of the art, when most non-season ticket holders choose seats and print tickets themselves at home.

  3. Look at how the Russians operated with Sochi, demanding kickbacks for every contract. The larger, the better. Pretty obvious the city leaders and contractors are in on this scam together.

  4. I hope my lawyers put one of those clauses in my stadium deal. Cuz I figure I’m coming back to slop myself at the public trough in about 5 or 10 years whether they did or not!