This is an older post on NSEC when Cal Expo was reviewing the Kamilos’ land swap proposal – For a current description and outline of NSEC please go to National Sports Education Center


‘Arena, Why Stop There?’

As promised in our previous post, we have an idea that would greatly improve the arena concept and improve its financing picture as well; but first, a simple puzzle:

Solve all of the following with a single idea:

1.  How to make a basketball sports-arena/entertainment facility a national (perhaps global) destination?

2.  How to underwrite and finance a major sports-complex without complicated and doubtful land-swap schemes, uncertain ‘market values’ or any new taxes (not even hidden ones like using public assets, or tax-increment manipulations)?

3.  How to save an important piece of the public commons from being traded away at a fraction of its value in a deal to finance said sports-arena?

4.  How to secure a sustainable economic future and leading place in world commerce for Sacramento, the region and the State?

5.  How to advance the agenda of the greening Sacramento in jobs, commerce, research and development and support for the future technologies and industries of the State and the nation?

So, what single idea would solve all five of those problems at the same time?

  • — The CEAV Project?  no, that’s not the answer.
  • — The Kamilos Land-Swap scheme?  definitely not.
  • — One of the other proposals?  partly, but no cigar.



The National Sports Education Center (NSEC) is a facility that can be integrated into any one of the six arena proposals (excluding the Kamilos scheme or any other that would turn Cal Expo land over to private developers).  It hosts sports-shops, exhibits of the latest sports technology and equipment from the sports industry,  screens sports films,  conducts sports classes and clinics in sports medicine, sports safety, athletic skills improvement and a variety of other sports-related activities.   Its offerings cover the entire range of sports.  It is open and operating even when nothing else is happening at the arena facility (perhaps 24/7 by the time it is established).  It can host special exhibits, activities and events associated with particular sports or entertainment offerings at the main arena facility.   Add to that, a state-of-the-art sports injury diagnostics and therapy Center (in conjunction with the major health providers in Sacramento) and you have an important international venue for athletes from all over the world.

That is the ‘National Sports Education Center.   [For more information on  concept go to the NSEC page at our website.]  The NSEC concept does thread through the answers to each of the How-To puzzles presented above:

  1. By opening the arena complex’s scope to the full range of sports, and offering the leading edge of all that is sports-related it becomes competitive as The National and Natural Destination for people interested in sports (especially in their own off-season time).  As a world-class facility it is not hard to see how an international reputation and clientele could easily develop from such a base.
  2. The NSEC is a ‘real-valued’ enterprise (not simply a ‘market-valued’ calculation) that brings with it sustainable investment and revenues from the sports industry, from sports enthusiasts, from athletes of all types and, perhaps, from the various franchises themselves (not just the NBA).  Integrated into the main arena facility, it may also serve to underwrite some of the financing of that facility as well.
  3. It supports the project on its own, is entirely financed and operated as a private venture and does not require trading any public lands or public assets to help underwrite it.  If it uses public land, such as the city-owned portion of the Railyards or public investments in Natomas, etc., it does so with land that is suited to that use and does not encroach upon a diminishing public commons.
  4. It, first of all, permits us to preserve the site at Cal Expo for a CEAV-like project that might actually serve the people of the state as an civic investment in the future.  In addition, as a major destination, in its own right, it establishes Sacramento as the world center for a part of the sports/entertainment industry which has not presently been established elsewhere.  A niche that is also waiting to be filled and contribute to overall economic health and stability of the region.
  5. Such a facility may, itself,  provide more jobs and dependable revenue stream than the main arena, though this remains to be analyzed. The facility, of course will be as ‘green’ as it can be made. That goes without saying.  It also serves as a significant attractant to new green industries and technology businesses whose labor force is highly educated, very middle class and count themselves among the most sports-involved and sports-interested workforce in any sector.  Finally, it preserves Cal Expo to make a proper contribution to the greening of Sacramento as a CEAV-like undertaking or to serve some other more appropriate public mission.

Did we connect the dots?  We believe we did.  If nothing else, the NSEC suggests that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what we should be doing with our talent and resources to leverage the Sacramento region into the 21st century. As tired as we all may be of ‘That-Arena-Thing-Again’,  as more than a mere ‘home for the Kings’  perhaps we owe it  to ourselves to  give the matter a lot more thought than we have?  Perhaps the ‘Sacramento First’ process should be regarded as only the first step in a process of concept development (before finance, before Joint Powers Authorities, before Parking Spaces)  that might have to go on for another year or more, rather than jumping right into the pot  with some kind of  ‘just build it!’ fervor.  Not easy to do,  we know. But that is exactly what the California Academy of Sciences did with the planning of their new facility, and it paid off for them – They are the hub of the world in science education and exhibit facilities.  Should we do less with our own projects? Can we really afford to do less?  President Obama said it, along with many others;  the competition for the restoration of our planet, for the greening of the world, is on, and the prize is the 21st century.  There will be many players, but only one center-court.  Do we really want to trade that for the NBA’s impatience and a season schedule?   Now, go to our website, www.ceav.us, and consider the rest of the story.

The CEAV Challenge:

CEAV now invites those proposals that were submitted to ‘Sacramento First’ to submit their own versions of a National Sports Education Center facility integrated into their proposal designs. Send us a drawing or sketch and very brief description and we will post your concept of an integrated NSEC-Arena Complex on our blog and at our website. The challenge is not open to concepts which would require private development on Cal Expo lands. We also invite anyone else who has an arena concept, but did not submit it to ‘Sacramento First’ to send their integrated NSEC-Arena idea. Those submissions will be posted if CEAV feels they are viable ideas. All submissions should be sent to CEAV and be sure to put “NSEC” in the subject header.


One response to “NSEC

  1. Pingback: Sacramento Arena Politics — ‘Voter Suppression’? Think ‘Voter Exclusion!’ | Stopcalexpo Blog

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