During a time of crisis in California, the Sacramento Kings stepped up to help their community by donating the team’s old arena to the state for use as a field hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. As it turns out, though, the organization is being compensated quite nicely for turning its vacant stadium into a surge hospital.
According to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee, California’s taxpayers are paying the Kings $500,000 a month for the use of Sleep Train Arena over each of the next three months.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé partnered with California Governor Gavin Newsome on April 6 to announce that the team’s old arena would be donated to the state to help provide extra space during a time when hospitals are overcrowded. However, a contract between the state and the team clearly disclosed that the Kings would receive $1.5 million over the next three months that their old stadium is used.
It’s likely that the Kings aren’t alone in this. There are now nearly 900,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and hospitals are overflowing with people needing treatment, testing and support. Given that hospitals are out of space, states are scrambling to find whatever additional buildings they can use to help provide aid to an increasingly sick population.
It would probably be better in the future, though, if teams were more honest about being paid to rent out their stadium during an unprecedented crisis.