Company eyes $225-250M arena in K.C.

5/12/2004 - Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Los Angeles-based company plans to
invest $50 million to build a new downtown arena, and hopes to
bring an NBA or NHL team to Kansas City.

"I can assure you that there will be an anchor tenant,"
Timothy Leiweke, vice president of the Anschutz Entertainment
Group, said Wednesday. "We have had conversations specifically
with those leagues' franchises. I don't think there's a better time
to get involved with a National Hockey League team than now."

The company is controlled by Philip Anschutz, a Denver
billionaire who owns the Los Angeles Kings and several teams in
Major League Soccer. Anschutz also owns part of the Los Angeles
Lakers and their arena, Staples Center.

The 18,500-20,000-seat arena will cost $225-250 million and will
be called the Sprint Center, after the suburban Overland Park,
Kan.-based telecommunications firm, which has agreed to purchase
the naming rights.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches will also invest
$10 million in the project, and move its headquarters from Overland
Park to the facility and open a college basketball hall of fame on

Private contributions will cover nearly half of the arena's
total cost. The rest will come from assorted tax credits and
license fees, including a $1.50 per occupied room per day hotel fee
and $4 per day fee on rental cars. Mayor Kay Barnes said the
project won't break ground until voters approve those two new fees,
which will appear on the August ballot.

A consortium of several Kansas City-based sports architecture
firms have said they plan to bid for the arena's design contract.
Also expected the bid is a group led by world-renowned architect
Frank Gehry.