Report: Charlotte Bobcats Already Asking for Taxpayer Help on Arena Upgrades

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIMarch 21, 2014

Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford talks to his team during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at Barclay's Center in New York. Brooklyn won 104-99. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Despite having the third-newest stadium in the NBA, the Charlotte Bobcats are reportedly seeking $34.1 million to improve Time Warner Cable Arena over the next four years.

According to the Charlotte Observer’s Steve Harrison, “The lease calls for the city to make improvements to the building to keep it among the most modern in the NBA, to ensure the team can ‘maintain economic competitiveness and revenue potential.’”

While the Bobcats have stayed competitive in the lackluster Eastern Conference with a 33-36 record (seventh-best in the East), the team’s attendance numbers still have not been favorable.

Charlotte ranks 25th in the Association with an average attendance of 15,257, per ESPN. Its percentage of home attendance (80 percent) also ranks it 25th out of 30 teams.

The Bobcats finished tied for 25th in attendance percentage for the 2012-13 season; he checked in 28th the year before that, so getting fans to the arena has been a prevalent issue during the squad's struggles.

Harrison writes that various projects to improve the arena “include: $1.27 million for ‘event-level’ restaurant refurbishment; $1.42 million to move the ticket office; and $2.5 million for floor repairs” among other costs.

It’s rather bizarre that the Bobcats are already asking taxpayers for additional funds, considering that their arena opened in 2005.

As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk writes:

“Even the projects that could benefit everyone who patronizes the arena—possibly like moving the ticket office—seem superfluous. Is it really necessary to spend $1.42 million of taxpayer money to move the ticket office?”

Taxpayers may ultimately be keener on funding upgrades to the arena if they were supporting a championship-caliber team. All-Star-caliber play from new addition Al Jefferson and solid performances from point guard Kemba Walker provide some bright spots, but Charlotte is still more than a few tweaks away from becoming a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.

Perhaps Michael Jordan’s team should focus on improving the roster, rather than the arena it plays in.