Sacto Seat Deals

The NBA’s Sacramento Kings have been itching for a new arena for years and the city has come up with a new way to help fund such a development.

The 21-year-old Arco Arena lacks many amenities common in newer facilities. While officials have warned for years that a new venue is needed to keep the team in the California capital, voters rejected previous sales tax measures to raise funds.

Now, Sactown officials are mulling over a fairly new concept floated by Stadium Capital Financing called equity seat rights, which act as a sort of seat “mortgage” for fans.

Unlike personal seat licenses, which give a fan the right to purchase season tickets annually at a certain price, ESRs license the full ownership of the seats for a long-term period that can range between 30 and 50 years.

A Stadium Capital official told the Sacramento Bee the sale of fewer than 2,000 ESRs could fund the construction of a new, 18,000-seat arena for the Kings.

While the official declined to cite details as to how much specific seat rights would cost, a comparable deal to help fund renovations at the University of California, Berkeley’s football stadium is reportedly offering ESRs for 3,000 seats that range from $40,000 to $220,000 each.

Under the plan, fans are allowed to pay for the seats annually or in whole, which could be just the ticket to provide a initial source of funds to break ground on a new home for the Kings.

Assistant city manager John Dangberg told the Bee the idea is worth consideration.

“The problem has always been, how do you capitalize the project upfront?” he said. “You need a mechanism that can get you over the initial financial hump.”

However, as ESRs have been tested only in university settings thus far, it’s unclear whether the concept would work as well for the Kings.

“Nonetheless, [the seat mortgage concept] might provide an option, at least in part, for financing a facility, and we’re very interested in exploring it to see what we can do to mitigate the potential challenges for a pro sports team,” Dangberg said.