New Orleans May Need A New NBA Arena Soon

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) works against Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The talks between Louisiana and the NBA franchise for a new stadium will begin soon.

The Commissioner has spoken. Adam Silver says every National Basketball Association team, regardless of location and market size, needs a state-of-the-art arena to compete in the league. Silver didn’t name any specific team owners that need or want a new arena but it is pretty much known that he was discussing the situations in New Orleans and Oklahoma City. Politicians in Oklahoma City have begun the push for a new arena in town. In New Orleans, there is groundwork being laid to let the public know New Orleans needs to replace its aging arena by 2030 or else. The public also needs to understand these buildings cost around a billion dollars in 2023 money and not to expect the New Orleans franchise owner to foot the entire bill for the venue. The NBA Pelicans arena opened in 1999 and was renovated in 2014. Through various incarnations of the leases between the owners of the Hornets-Pelicans franchise, there have been times when Louisiana has paid the owner of the franchise money to stay in town. The future of the present building and the possibility of building a new venue will come into focus in about a year after Louisiana finishes its renovation of the New Orleans Superdome.

“If you look at it today, it is not keeping pace with the modern NBA facilities,” said Doug Thornton, the Vice President of ASM Global of the company that manages the arena. “I will tell you that the Pelicans are extending their lease through 2030. We are going to take a fresh look at that building.” Pelicans ownership and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District are studying the long-term viability of the building but renovating the place may not be cost effective in terms of bringing it up to a 21st century state-of-the-art facility. The New Orleans arena game has started.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) shoots as Utah Jazz center Derrick Favors (15) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)