Memphis — like virtually every other city in the United States — is hurting for money. That’s money that goes to important things like police and fire departments, libraries and the like. All of those things face cutbacks.
Memphis also owns the FedExForum, where the Grizzlies play. That was built with money from revenue bonds — money to pay off the bonds is supposed to come from fees and revenue generated by arena. If that revenue is not there, the money has to come from somewhere.
Early estimates show the taxpayers could be on the hook for $18 million if the entire season is cancelled.
With the first two weeks of regular season games already cancelled, the city says it wants to stay proactive. At the suggestion of Chairman Myron Lowry, the council is considering a resolution that would ask City Council Attorney Allan Wade to explore all options, including a lawsuit against the NBA.
That resolution passed and the city’s attorney is now on it.
Sure, this is all a bit of show for the fine people of Memphis, there is about as much chance of getting money out of the NBA as there is getting David Stern to cover the losses himself.
But the approach is interesting. And it would be another straw on the camel for the NBA, which already heaped a couple bales up there when they canceled he first two weeks of the season.