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Virginia Rumors

Throwing down the gauntlet, Virginia Beach’s mayor has set a Monday deadline to have a lease signed with a professional sports team – widely reported to be the Sacramento Kings – or he’ll pull the plug on the city’s arena efforts for this year. Mayor Will Sessoms, who has been pushing a plan for a $300 million-plus arena in his city, told The Bee he has informed the city’s private partner, arena operator Comcast-Spectacor, he wants an agreement now. “We have a timeline that is right upon us to go to the state to ask for a substantial amount of money,” Sessoms said. “We are not going to go up there and make a fool of ourselves. I need to know something by Monday. “I don’t want to be wasting people’s time or my time if we are not going to bring some conclusion to these negotiations quickly.” Officials in the Virginia city say two state General Assembly representatives are prepared to request $150 million in state funds to help to build the arena when the Assembly reconvenes Wednesday – but only if Comcast reaches a deal with the team.
Despite a setback in funding, Virginia Beach took another step toward building a new arena and presumably luring the Sacramento Kings east. Their council voted 9-2 on Tuesday night to continue negotiations with entertainment giant Comcast-Spectacor. Just four days ago, Governor Bob McDonnell declined to include a $150-million subsidy for the project in Virginia’s state budget. There is belief among the council that McDonnell can still provide state assistance, but needs more time to assess the benefits of the deal. The new proposed 18,500-seat arena is expected to cost roughly $346 million to construct. Virginia Beach is expected to kick in at least $241 million, while Comcast Spectacor has committed to providing $35 million to the project.
Despite persistently optimistic reports out of Virginia Beach, Va., that the town (hamlet? intersection?) is progressing in its plan to put together an arena deal to attract the Sacramento Kings, the NBA office has received no communication on the matter from Kings ownership, a league source told Nor has the league received a relocation application from the Kings, which would be the first step in any move. Everything looks peachy with Virginia Beach’s arena proposal, except for little matter of a $150 million subsidy being sought from the state of Virginia. Along with $195 million earmarked from the city budget, the project is estimated to be 90 percent publicly funded. Good luck with that.
Up until now, rumors and unconfirmed reports swirled around the Capital City about a Kings’ possible move to Virginia Beach; however, now, sources in Virginia, who asked not to be identified, said George Maloof has met with state and city leaders there and plans are being drafted to possibly move the NBA team. At Tuesday night’s Virginia Beach City Council meeting, Mayor Will Sessoms said media giant Comcast-Spectacor and its president, Peter Luukko, are very optimistic. “He is currently working on a long-term lease with a professional sports team that will serve as an anchor tenant to an arena,” Sessoms told the council.
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms today confirmed he recently met with representatives of a National Basketball Association team about moving that team to his city. Sessoms made the comment during a during a Virginia Beach City Council meeting, city spokesman Marc Davis said. The mayor declined to say which team he spoke with. However, several Virginia Beach news outlets have reported that unnamed sources have told them the team is the Sacramento Kings.