Great news for Charlotte basketball fans, but not necessarily for Charlotte taxpayers: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he’d love for the city to host an All-Star game. But he says the Charlotte Bobcats’ arena needs an upgrade first, and that’s where taxpayers come in.
To be clear, Charlotte taxpayers were looking at a big bill for arena upgrades before new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came to town Monday to catch a Bobcats’ game.
Charlotte city leaders were already considering a request of more than $40 million worth of renovations to Time Warner Cable Arena. In their budget proposal, they said that not funding the improvements could result in the loss of economic appeal for arena events and attractions, like, say, an All-Star game.
Silver confirmed that during a press conference before the Bobcats’ game.
“There are some upgrades to the building that are needed,” he said. “I know part of the understanding here is to ensure the building remains state of the art. I mean, nothing dramatic needed, but certainly an upgrade to the scoreboard, some things with the suites, little bit with the lighting infrastructure, a few other things.”
Doesn’t sound like much - until you get to the price tag. Scoreboard and video renovations: nearly $8 million. Suite upgrades: roughly $6 million. (Those amounts are what the Bobcats have submitted to the city.)
The city owns the arena. The Bobcats manage it. And the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority takes care of back-of-the-house stuff like the roof, plumbing and flooring.
The original contract says the three sides are supposed to look at upgrades after seven years, and Time Warner Cable Arena is now in its ninth year. But they’re still in the process of determining exactly which renovations will get taxpayer funding and whether the total price tag will remain above $40 million.
The renovations would begin next year and be spaced out through 2019. And for you basketball fans, the earliest the NBA All-Star game could come is 2017. (It’s booked between now and then.)