Arena Public Funding a Thing of the Past?
Today, that sort of cheerleading falls flat in most cities. Their balance sheets are suffering along with most sectors of the American economy. The cultural landscape has shifted, and it’s unlikely you’ll see many repeats of Indianapolis, which forked over $33.5 million in public funds (about 10 percent of it for capital improvements to Conseco Fieldhouse) when the Pacers threatened to move. Residents of big cities are increasingly intolerant of those kinds of expenditures.
That could pose problems for certain teams as favorable lease deals expire. As the current collection of NBA arenas gradually become outdated (they always do), expect skirmishes between private ownership and public governments to spar over who has to foot the bill for renovations or, in some cases, new facilities. Kansas City awaits with open arms, but the days of cities luring teams with cushy deals are likely over.