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Sacramento gives green light to new arena for NBA’s Kings

The City of Sacramento has given the go ahead to plans to build and finance a new $477m (€348m) Entertainment and Sports Centre (ESC) for NBA basketball franchise Sacramento Kings.

The Sacramento City Council approved the plans at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), each by a seven to two margin. The ESC will be constructed at the Downtown Plaza Mall in Sacramento. The agreement will tie the Kings to Sacramento as tenants of the ESC for 35 years.

The city’s cash contribution to the ESC will be $233m, with the majority of this being financed through a parking revenue bond. The city will also pay $21.9m per year in debt service, which will be paid through lease payments from the franchise. Kings will contribute $254m to the ESC and pay a minimum lease payment starting at $6.5m, which will accrue to a total of $391m over the life of the lease.

Demolition on the existing site at the Downtown Plaza Mall is due to begin this summer with groundbreaking expected to start in the autumn. The new ESC is scheduled to open in time for the 2016-17 season.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said: “Tonight’s vote is a historic moment for Sacramento and the culmination of years of hard work from so many in our city and our region. Sacramento has had a vision for its future and I am so proud of our community for their fight and resolve to ensure that vision became a reality.”

The Kings first moved to Sacramento in 1985 from Kansas City and have played at the Sleep Train Arena for the past 26 seasons. Sacramento Kings finished fourth in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the 2013-14 NBA season.

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