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Virginia Beach mayor details planned arena, possibly for Kings

The SportsXchange

The mayor of Virginia Beach, Va., laid out plans for a new sports arena Tuesday in the city's continuing bid to attract a top-level team.

Since August, multiple media outlets reported that Virginia Beach is attempting to woo the NBA's Kings, who remain unhappy with their arena in Sacramento.

Kings spokesman Troy Hanson told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper, "We're not going to comment on relocation rumors."

According to the newspaper, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said at a city council meeting that the 18,500-seat arena would carry a $300 million price tag. More than half of the money would come from the city, with the state of Virginia asked to contribute $70 million toward arena costs and Comcast-Spectacor, the expected arena operator, pitching in $35 million.

The state also would be hit up for $80 million to provide moving expenses for the relocating team.

Sessoms put the chances of the city attracting a major league tenant for the venue at 50-50, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

According to WAVY-TV in the Virginia Beach area, Kings co-owner George Maloof previously met with Virginia state officials, including governor Bob McDonnell, about a move to the Old Dominion.

The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, declined comment Tuesday, according to CBS13-TV in Sacramento.

For several years, the Kings have been a prime target for cities seeking an NBA franchise. With team officials consistently denigrating the Kings' current home, now known as Sleep Train Arena, attendance has dwindled and fan apathy has taken hold. Just 10,741 attended Tuesday's game, which the Kings lost 97-89 to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.

In years past, when the Kings had a competitive club, the venue then known as Arco Arena was noted for providing one of the best home-court advantages in the NBA. However, that was before the Kings explored a move to Anaheim, Calif.

The transfer to Southern California was postponed when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, attempted to put together local financing for a new arena.

Johnson announced in April that talks with the Maloofs regarding a new facility ended due to "irreconcilable differences" over financing.

Seattle, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Vancouver are among other cities that reportedly are interested in attracting an NBA team.

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