VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - An 18,000 to 20,000 seat arena could be coming to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, along with the possibility of a professional sports team.
Mayor Will Sessoms told WAVY News 10 Sports Director Bruce Rader Comcast-Spectacor will have a proposal for City Council on Tuesday. The company owns the Philadelphia Flyers, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convention Center.
At this time, it is unknown how much the proposed $350 million area, which would be housed across the street from the Virginia Beach Convention Center could cost tax payers. Sessoms said that information would be part of Comcast-Spectacor's proposal.
"They have indicated to me that this building would generate enough revenue on its own to cover the debts that would be required by the city," Sessoms said. " Comcast-Spectacor, which used to own the Philadelphia 76ers, has stated they would provide a professional team if we move forward with the arena."
According to Willard Ogan with the NBC Sports Network, Comcast released the following statement addressing rumors that a National Basketball Association team could be coming to Virginia Beach:
"No specific team from any league has been identified as the potential tenant."
Inside Business is reporting that team could be the Sacramento Kings. Sessoms said he could not confirm any news regarding the Kings moving to Virginia. The Kings' owners, the Maloofs, have reportedly been looking to move the team since plans for a new arena in Sacramento fell through.
According to a statement released by the Sacramento Kings to USA Today , the organization "has been approached by numerous parties and cities interested in buying and relocating the franchise. The franchise is not going to discuss which cities have been approached."
Moving a professional sports team to Hampton Roads is not a new idea. In fact, it has happened three times, the first time with the National Hockey League in 1996, then the NBA in 2001 and most recently Major League Baseball in 2004.
Then-Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn tried to bring an NHL team, the Hampton Roads Rhinos, to the area but plans fell through. WAVY News 10 spoke to Shinn in 1997 about why the plan failed.
WAVY News 10 covered the possibility of an NBA team and a large arena in 2001. Shinn's Hornets were proposed to move to Hampton Roads from Charlotte, but they instead went to New Orleans after the 2001-2002 season.
The Montreal Expos toyed with moving their team to Hampton Roads in 2004 but ended up in D.C. as the Washington Nationals.
When asked if the whole plan could be part of negotiations or baiting, Sessoms said Virginia Beach would not stand for it.
"I also said to [them], 'Look, if you're playing one against the other, if I ever pick up on it, negotiations stop immediately,'" Sessoms said.
In addition, this is also not the first time the idea of a new arena has been brought to the Virginia Beach City Council. In April 2011, city council rejected a 22,000-seat arena proposal by Drakkar of America, which said they would foot the bill but would ask for special funding via tax revenue. That arena was not proposed to house a sports team, but rather to function as an events-focused venue like the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
The largest venues in Hampton Roads are the Hampton Coliseum which seats 10,000-14,000 people and Norfolk Scope Arena which seats 8,725.
The office of Governor Bob McDonnell released the following statement regarding the Comcast proposal:
"The Governor supports efforts to bring a professional sports franchise to Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area. Landing a franchise would benefit the local and state economy, and spur job creation in the region. The Governor looks forward to working with local officials and all involved in this effort. This is a great economic development opportunity for Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads and all of Virginia."
Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.
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