Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms announced in a Tuesday morning statement that the city is no longer pursuing an arena deal that would potentially bring a professional team to the Hampton Roads area. Sessoms stated, "the city doesn’t see a clear opportunity at this point and as such it's not something we're aggressively going after.” The statement was a joint statement from Sessoms and Peter Luukko, Comcast-Spectacor president and chief executive officer.
The statement left open the possibility of a future deal stating that, "both parties remain committed to the concept of an arena in Virginia Beach and to continuing discussions with a potential anchor tenant." Because an agreement has not been reached, city officials will not request the necessary state funds for the proposed project. The structure of the deal called for $241 million in city funds, $150 million in state funds, and $35 million from Comcast-Spectacor.
The city of Virginia Beach has spent $1.2 million on the proposed arena proposal. The money was spent on a variety of lawyers, consultants, and economic studies to analyze the proposed deal. Critics of the deal aren’t surprised that a deal could not be reached and are critical of the money that was spent.
For months, the Sacramento Kings were rumored to be the possible tenant of a potential arena in the Virginia Beach area. Despite the rumors, the owners of the Kings have refrained to comment on any of the rumors. Many believe that the deal has failed to this point because a tenant has not been publicly verified.
Although the Virginia Beach deal has temporarily died, many still believe that the Hampton Roads area is still “one of the largest underserved markets in North America.” Although many other areas have been associated with a potential move by the Kings, many also believed that the Hampton Roads area was the leading candidate. With the most recent news concerning the Virginia Beach deal, rumors have now surfaced linking the Kings to a potential move to Seattle.