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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Kevin Dayton

Regional Sports and Entertainment Facilities in the Urban Core Attract Costly Political Meddling: Sacramento Kings as a Case Study

Any fiscal conservative who joins a bipartisan coalition to advance a common cause needs to be wary about becoming one of the Left’s “useful idiots.” A classic example is now unfolding in Sacramento, where sports fans and corporate interests are clamoring for exceptional efforts – including a $258 million public subsidy – to retain the region’s one major league professional sports team, the Kings of the National Basketball Association.

Emotionalism and financial self-interest are overwhelming critical thinking about mundane issues such as opportunity costs, municipal debt finance, property rights, regional transportation planning, and the role of government in redistributing capital. And the selected location for the new arena was a strategic error that may send the Kings packing to more lucrative pastures.

Either by design or by default, the new arena is planned for downtown Sacramento, rather than a suburban site or even next to the current arena. As a result, the arena and anticipated development around the arena are being subjected to costly political meddling, led by downtown’s State Senator Darrell Steinberg and his political… Read More