Study shows Sacramento arena would bring billions to surrounding area

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While the NBA stumbles all over itself trying to divide up a multi-billion dollar pie, the folks in Sacramento are making moves to put their own pie into the oven.

The Think Big Sacramento coalition, which is the ever-changing moniker of the grassroots political coalition to keep the Kings in town (formerly Here We Build), released a report on Thursday showing that a new Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC) would bring the area $7 billion of economic activity and 3.1 million new visitors to the region over 30 years.

As sources close to the proceedings reported to us in late May, this report provides the backbone of financial proof necessary to convince Sacramento area voters that the ESC is a necessary and worthwhile venture.  And while a public vote is not expected, the public’s blessing on the matter is obviously a key to its success.

The coalition, which includes politicians, city leaders, and consultants not just from the city of Sacramento, but from the neighboring counties as well, also struck it big when the report found that those neighboring counties would receive $26 million in revenue annually, while the county of Sacramento would receive $131 million of its own.

This information comes at a time when growing regional support for building an ESC in the city of Sacramento has challenged residents in the outskirts of the region to see and understand how economic benefits go beyond the proposed downtown site.

It also follows a previous report from Capitol Public Finance Group estimating that 4,095 jobs would be created in the Sacramento region during the completion of the ESC, which has a 12.8% unemployment rate, with another 400 new jobs being provided on an ongoing basis.

While politicians have hesitated in the past to get behind public financing for sports arenas, the tenor of the discussion in Sacramento has changed significantly, as regional leaders face the impending loss of those revenues should the Kings leave for Anaheim.

“The return on investment the public would get from this is enormous,” said Executive Director of Think Big Sacramento to Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.

Rob Fong, city councilman for the city of Sacramento added that the ESC would be “not only good for downtown, not only good for Sacramento, it’s good for the six-county region.”

Add into the equation the excitement generated by the drafting of Jimmer Fredette and the acquisition of promising power forward J.J. Hickson, things look about as good as they can for a city that wouldn’t resign itself to the fate of losing their team. Heck, if they can re-sign free agent center Samuel Dalembert or otherwise bring in a veteran big man, there could even be a playoff series to properly eulogize the old Arco Arena (currently known as Power Balance Pavilion).

And if things continue heading in the right direction within the Sacramento City Council and the Think Big Sacramento coalition, the tone of that sendoff will be much more celebratory than the one this past April.

That is, if there is basketball to play.