This one is strictly for Sacramento, until/when another city decides to beat us to the punch. Sacramento has long been trying to get a sports arena and new home for their Kings basketball team. I offer no opinion on if/whether that is a good idea, but note the big problem has been financing the project. The people of Sacramento have already clearly said “NO!” to being taxed to underwrite the project, but the city has gone right ahead, trying to disguise what ultimately comes out of the taxpayer’s pockets under exotic names like “increment taxes” and swaps of public commons lands (Cal Expo), sale of public revenue assets such a the city’s parking concession, etc. We have provided a way an arena can be wholly underwritten privately from a far larger pool of investors and also become a national and world destination for the entire range of sports interests, not simply the NBA and basketball fans. We Call it:
THE NATIONAL SPORTS EDUCATION CENTER (NSEC)
Enhancing the value and financing potentials of a sports-arena/entertainment-complex for Sacramento.
[note: this proposal is not a substitute for an arena. It merely augments the narrow NBA arena idea with a concept that makes the private financing of an arena+NSEC far more attractive to private investors and audiences alike. It does so by broadening the range of interests to include all sports from bicycling to surfing to skateboards and rock climbs; from basketball to olympic sports interests to major franchises in every sport. It transforms the passion of a minority for a single sport into the interest of everyone and anyone interested in any sport. It turns a strictly local project into an international destination and global showcase for the fans and the sports industry.]
This is what we propose:
The National Sports Education Center (NSEC) is conceived, along with a new sports arena, as a complex of retail shops, conference rooms, exhibit halls, and other specialized sports-activities areas that can be integrated into any one of the six arena proposals that were presented to Sacramento First or, indeed, any proposal for a new Sacramento sports-arena that has sufficient surrounding land to support the concept. The NSEC would comprise a number of facilities designed to host retail sports and sports-specialty shops, exhibits of the latest sports technology and new products from the sports industry, screen sports films, conduct sports classes and clinics in sports medicine, sports safety, athletic skills improvement and a variety of other sports-related activities. Its offerings would cover the entire range of sports and sports-related interests. It would be open and operating even when nothing else is happening at the arena facility, and on a year-round basis. It can host special exhibits, conferences and other activities and events associated with particular sports or entertainment offerings, either within its own program or in conjunction with events hosted at the main arena facility. Add to that, a state-of-the-art sports injury Treatment and Diagnostics Center** (in conjunction with the major health providers in Sacramento) and you have built an important international venue and destination for athletes and sports fans of every kind, from all over the world.
That is the ‘National Sports Education Center in brief:
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.
- 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). Architecturally integrated with the main arena facility, it may also serve to underwrite some of the financing of that facility as well and certainly couldn’t help but enhance the value of the arena itself.
- It supports the project on its own, is entirely financed and operated as a private venture and does not require taxes or 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.
- Such a facility could provide more permanent jobs and dependable revenue stream than the main arena, though this remains to be analyzed. The facilities, of course will be as ‘green’ as they 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.
Applicable to any proposal, the addition of a ‘National Sports Education Center’ * could enhance both the public interest value and the financing potentials of a new Sacramento sports-arena/entertainment-complex.
The NSEC would be a multi-use facility for showcasing a variety of sports-related activities, products, services and practices. New/advanced products and product ergonomics, films, general sports exhibits, sports-medicine exhibits and clinics for sports-health, physical fitness education programs and clinics for children and adults, general sports-education and promotional showcasing and presentations could all be hosted in such facilities. A ‘sports-jobs bank’ could be included, where people could seek jobs and get advice on careers in the sports industry.
Envision a facility for showcasing the entire range of sports in ways as exciting and forward looking as, say, the new California Academy of Sciences does for science and technology. Conceived as a world-class, world-hub of sports-related interests, the NSEC would offer a number of opportunities for enhancing and extending the potentials of any of the sports-entertainment proposals that have been submitted:
a. It opens a second and complementary underwriting potential to traditional private-development financing. Major national and international commercial sports enterprises (Nike, Jaypro, Wilson, etc.), sports-accessory manufacturers, sports-fitness equipment, many of the sports franchises and similar ventures, would all have a decided interest in underwriting its development and exhibiting and/participating at such a facility. There are many sports-trade shows around the country; however, to date, there is no single, major permanent facility that is identified with the leading edge offerings of the entire industry.
b. As a multi-sport showcasing facility, introducing and selling new products, offering-sports related classes and clinics, hosting sports films and special events and hosting a variety of other activities it could well become a 24/7 year-round destination for all types of sports-related interests. NSEC could easily be a natural destination for anyone visiting other nearby facilities and would serve to invite a significant pedestrian population to use it and to visit other downtown venues.
c. Revenues from the NSEC could substantially enhance the general revenues anticipated by any proposal. In addition, if the NSEC and the main arena complex were physically conjoined in concept and design, underwriting for the NSEC would simultaneously underwrite at least part of the build-out of the arena complex. Not only could the inclusion of a major NSEC facility in an arena proposal enhance the interests of the specific plan-associated financing structure, but could serve to interest many other investors and funding sources in the project. An NSEC facility adjunct to the main complex might, indeed, catch the interest of investors who would not otherwise be interested in underwriting sports-complexes.
d. The NSEC considerably broadens the base of public interest by serving the general public interest in all areas of sports and does not tie a proposal to only one or two sports activities. It not only engages the interest of the public as spectators, but as consumers and participants in sports-related activities as well.
There is much more that could be said about the NSEC concept. For now, we think it would be a win-win-win accessory to any of the main proposals and ought to be given serious consideration. For that reason, CEAV releases this idea to all and any who are engaging the matter of arena development, in whole or part, and in any way they see fit. We have suggested, very briefly, this same idea to the ‘Sacramento First’ task force. We do plan to follow up by sending them this description as well, and hope that they will find it interesting enough to take special interest in any proposal which includes similar concepts in its offering.
We would only add that NSEC or an NSEC-like complex is sure to be built somewhere in the world as the premier stop for sports promotional activity as well as sports interested consumers. Sacramento and its serious interest in having a new arena built in the region would seem to be a good contender for that prize. That, provided there is the political and visionary will to see such a project implemented.
[notes: * there are several existing facilities that use the name “National Sports Center” which was our first name choice. We use ‘National Sports Education Center’ here only as a working-title that will likely have to be changed. The NSC venues appear to be of two types: 1) multi-use, outdoor sports facilities.; or, 2) convention and meeting facilities. There seem to be none which include the type of facilities described above. And none, as far as we can tell, that have actually become identified with being the global-hub and destination for sports-related activities. We believe that the NSEC description is a market vacancy that is, to date, empty and waiting to be filled. – The CEAV Project ]
** The city of Las Vegas is seriously considering a general ‘medical tourism’ hospital complex as a means of generating revenues for its municipality. ]
Followup – what may be of interest is why you have never heard of this proposal from CEAV. It has been sent to the City Council, to the Mayor, to the developers of interest and others. However, as of this date, we haven’t received a single response – not even a question. The NSEC has never been seriously reviewed by anyone on merit. Add to that, the Sacramento Bee well knows about the idea, and has also systematically refused to even mention the idea in any of its articles, or print any of our submissions. Is it any wonder you haven’t heard about it? – California Advocates for the 21st Century]