Kansas City’s Sprint Center (that’s their new downtown arena) is suffering from underuse.
The Atlantic article The Empty Arena tells the story. Its subtitle is “If you build it, they might not come.” Despite being managed by a well-connected and experienced management group, no professional basketball or hockey team has moved in. Here’s bit more:
For now, Kansas City remains cautiously optimistic that the decision to build the Sprint Center was an enlightened one. The taxes that fund it are largely being paid by visitors, after all, and the concerts and NCAA games it has already attracted would have bypassed the old, outdated Kemper Arena. Mayor Mark Funkhouser, formerly the city auditor, had struggled to understand how spending $222 million on an arena made economic sense. “Now that I’ve inherited it,” he says, “I tell people it’s a shotgun wedding, but I have to make the marriage work. And if you look at it just in terms of the performance of the facility itself, it has exceeded expectations. It’s shiny and new. People like it.”
Who paid for the arena? As the snippit above approvingly states, someone else besides the people of Kansas City did. $222 million from hotel and car-rental taxes funded the arena.