NBA commish to Charlotte: Give Michael Jordan $42m in small bills, or never see your All-Star Game again

Apparently that clause in the Charlotte Bobcats‘ lease that requires the city of Charlotte to keep their arena “economically competitive” isn’t enough for the team owners (some guy named Michael something) to feel confident in getting their $41.9 million in public subsidies for arena renovation, because they’ve now pulled out the big guns:

The NBA commissioner wants to put the all-star game in Charlotte, but first he wants to see upgrades at the 9-year-old uptown arena.

Adam Silver, who became commissioner in February,  called for improvements to the luxury suites, scoreboards and lighting during a 20-minute press conference with local media Monday afternoon.

The All-Star Game is at stake, people! If you don’t put up $41.9 million, you will miss your chance to see a bunch of famous names go out on a court and play a lackadaisical version of something akin to basketball! Or, you know, not.

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.”


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…