NBA considers Virginia team

Report says unspecified squad’s potential Virginia Beach relocation would spur economic growth

The National Basketball Association could be coming to Virginia, according to a report released Tuesday. The consulting firm Chmura Economics & Analytics revealed possible plans for an unnamed NBA team to relocate to Virginia Beach.

The study cites the sports and entertainment company Comcast-Spectacor saying the NBA is considering relocating one of its teams to Virginia Beach with plans to begin construction as early as May.

Comcast-Spectacor spokesperson Ike Richman declined to disclose which NBA teams were considering relocating.

The study analyzed the changes to the Virginia Beach economic climate for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons that would likely occur because of an NBA team relocation, notably a new $350 million multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue.

Arena construction and team operations would be the main source of economic impact for the first two years, according to the report.

“Starting with the 2015-16 season, the economic impact will come not only from the NBA franchise operations and visitor spending associated with the NBA games but also from the operation of the new arena and visitor spending associated with additional non-NBA events to be hosted at the arena,” according to the report.

Xiobing Shuai, senior economist at Chmura and primary author of the study, said previous studies had pointed to similar conclusions.

The report estimated the arena construction would generate $559.3 million for the Virginia economy, supporting 3,944 jobs during the duration of construction from 2013-2015. The annual total economic impact of the potential NBA franchise in Virginia was estimated to be $333.3 million, supporting 1,950 jobs.

The arena could also host 150 events a year on top of the NBA games and would hire 55 permanent employees and 322 part-time employees.

“The 44 NBA home games are expected to attract 704,000 annual spectators,” according to the report. “When the new arena is in full operation, non-NBA events can attract 743,484 annual spectators, for total annual spectators of 1.4 million.”

The projected revenue generated by the arena operation is based on estimated arena capacity. “If there were less people, the impact might be smaller than what we estimate,” Shuai said. “What we estimate is based on one assumption of the capacity, provided to us [by an Aug. 24 study] from Old Dominion University.”

ODU projected that about 700,000 fans would attend pre-season and regular NBA games.

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