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Sprint Center groundbreaking signals start of construction

Event celebrates newest downtown landmark

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Large group of people digging


The construction phase for Sprint Center officially began June 24 with a ceremonial groundbreaking at “center court” of the new downtown sports and entertainment arena at 14th and McGee streets.

Mayor Kay Barnes was joined at the event by arena partner representatives Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group; Gary Forsee, chairman and CEO of Sprint; and Jim Haney, executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Also participating in the groundbreaking were Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen.

The $250 million, 18,000-20,000-seat Sprint Center will be between 13th and 15th streets and Grand Avenue and Oak Street, and will anchor the eastern edge of the new Kansas City Live! entertainment/retail/restaurant district being developed by the Cordish Company. The new arena, envisioned as a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, state-of-the-art, world-class venue, is expected to be a venue for concerts; family shows; professional, collegiate and amateur sporting competitions; and special events. It also will house the offices of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

“Today’s ceremony is impressive when you recall that it was only last August voters gave their stamp of approval for the new arena. In addition, it was only Jan. 1 that we began collecting the fees for construction; and here we stand at center court with the site cleared, ready to begin construction of our city’s newest landmark,” Mayor Barnes said.

"The development of Sprint Center will further establish Kansas City as a world-class destination for business, entertainment, recreation and leisure,” Leiweke said.

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“Truly, the real winners today, and for years to follow, are the people of Kansas City who will now have the opportunity to attend the best concerts and sporting events destined to perform in this magnificent arena. We congratulate Gary Forsee and our partners at Sprint for their commitment and support, and commend Mayor Barnes for her leadership, guidance and vision that have clearly been the driving force not only to make Sprint Center a reality but for the entire revitalization of downtown Kansas City,” Leiweke said.

Anschutz Entertainment Group, one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment presenters, will serve as a partner with the City in developing, operating and managing Sprint Center. AEG will make a $50 million commitment to the project and will assist the City in attracting an anchor tenant for the arena.

"Today is not just a groundbreaking ceremony for Sprint Center; it is reaffirmation for the Kansas City community that we are making progress in growing and revitalizing not only our urban core but our entire region,” Forsee said.

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“Sprint Center, along with the entertainment district, will serve as the focal point for increased tourism and will draw visitors from across the region. We are proud to have the Sprint name on this signature entertainment venue,” Forsee said.

Sprint has made a commitment to pay up to $2.5 million per year for 25 years for the naming rights to the downtown arena. Among other things, Sprint will receive rights to develop and create unique and exclusive branding opportunities in addition to external signage, advertising and collateral materials and access to select hospitality, arena services and amenities. Sprint also will be the official telecommunications provider for Sprint Center, providing all telecommunications services for the arena.

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The National Association of Basketball Coaches is expected to provide $10 million in financing. The remainder of the financing will be composed of a combination of tax credit financing, hotel and car rental license fees, and user fees.“Today’s announcement is another major step forward in revitalizing downtown Kansas City,” Barnes said.

“The combination of the new Sprint Center arena with the H&R Block world headquarters and the Power & Light District will create a spectacular downtown district with something for everyone, both for metropolitan area residents and Kansas City visitors. I am thrilled that so many prestigious partners have come together with the City of Kansas City to make the new downtown a reality,” Mayor Barnes said.

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