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.”
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…