A Long Lockout Could Stick The People Of Memphis With FedEx Forum Bill

While most of the focus on the NBA lockout has centered around the players and the owners, another aspect in this mess is what could happen to the Memphis Grizzlies’ arena – The FedExFourm – should the lockout wipe out all of next season.

A fund used to pay off bonds that paid for the $250 million FedExForum could be pushed into the red by 2022 if the NBA lockout lasts the entire year, a situation that would force the city of Memphis and Shelby County to pay the shortfall.

The bonds, authorized in 2002 by the sports authority, are paid with six different revenue streams related to the NBA, including tickets and concessions to Grizzlies games, and seat rental fees.

With the loss of revenue associated with a lockout, projections show the current surplus fund of $10.8 million would be gone in time for the senior bonds’ Nov. 1, 2022, payment.

The shortfall could reach $10.6 million by 2029, or about $600,000 annually for each government, the newspaper reported.

So if the NBA extends its lockout long enough, the good people of Memphis, Tennessee and all of Shelby County will see their tax dollars get diverted into paying for the FedExForum.  Right now, the surplus isn’t in immediate danger and, as stated before, the entire NBA season would have to be cancelled for this to become a reality.  But the ripple effect of this lockout seems to be larger than many think.

Employees of the NBA and their franchises are in danger of losing their jobs, if they haven’t already (see the Bobcats).  Fans are in danger of missing out on their favorite sport or worse yet, seeing the cost of attending a game skyrocket since owners are seeking greater profits.  And now, we face the possibility of taxpayers footing the bill for an empty arena as billionaires fight over how to split up money.

Both sides in this CBA stand-off need to think long and hard about the ramifications of a prolonged lockout. What is at stake is much larger than your own individual needs.