Sacramento Kings' New Arena On The Respirator

The Sacramento Kings' relocation saga has headed into overtime. For more on the arena/relocation situation, check out Sactown Royalty.

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Kings to Virginia plan takes a step forward

Virginia Beach now has a concrete proposal for an arena that would house the Kings.


Sacramento Kings Arena Plans: Recapping A Wild Day Of Bad News

Most in the city of Sacramento had figured their Kings were set to stay for the long haul following a tentative plan for a new arena that was passed a few weeks ago, but those plans are now in serious jeopardy following a rough Friday of press conferences. So what happened with Mayor Kevin Johnson, NBA commissioner David Stern and the Maloof family?

As for the Maloofs, they continued to hold onto their notion that a final financial plan was agreed upon while meeting in Orlando a few months ago, and they are refusing to ante up more money to pay for the new arena. While the NBA league offices and commissioner Stern have typically backed the Kings in their negotiations, Stern said nothing else could be done in their favor during the negotiations. He said he hoped the city council and the Maloof family would continue to work out their differences, but he was "not optimistic" about it.

Mayor Kevin Johnson took the podium later on Friday afternoon and reiterated multiple times that, "Sacramento deserves better." He was clearly upset with the way everything had turned out and said that while he understood the agreements in Orlando were not set in stone, all parties involved had still verbally agreed to them.

In a bit of encouraging news, it does seem like the Kings will be staying in Sacramento through the end of next season. There is still a chance the team stays in Sacramento, but it will take a ton of work from all parties involved. Expect to hear the cities of Anaheim and Seattle ramp up their talks for bringing the Kings to town in the coming months.


Sacramento Kings Relocation Saga: It's Official - Kings Will Stay

The Orange County Register reported first and several other news sources, including Sports Illustrated and the Sacramento Bee, have confirmed with the Maloofs: the Kings officially will stay in Sacramento.

Official Team Statement:

“Out of respect to Kings fans and the regional business community, we have decided to remain in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season. The fans spirit and energy, specifically our season ticket holders, has been remarkable and we are truly thankful for their loyalty. We also are greatly appreciative of the support from our corporate sponsors as well as other local businesses that have come forward in recent weeks.

Additionally, we would like to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt thank you to the loyal and hardworking team members within our organization. From the game night staff to the front office, coaches, and players, we are grateful for their professionalism and devotion.

During this process, Mayor Johnson has strongly indicated to both the community and the NBA that he is capable of getting the support to build a state-of-the-art entertainment and sports facility that the Sacramento Region and the tremendous Kings fans so rightly deserve. We look forward to seeing Mayor Johnson bring his vision to reality. However, if an arena plan cannot be finalized in a timely fashion, the NBA¹s relocation committee has assured Maloof Sports and Entertainment that it will support an application to move the franchise to another market starting in 2012-13.”

The NBA is expected to issue a statement later this morning regarding the decision.  Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to hold a press conference at 11 am sharing his thoughts as well.

This ends the saga which first started in January when details of a deal between the Maloofs & Anaheim first leaked in a report by Sacramento radio station KFBK.  The story heated up following All-Star break when Commissioner David Stern confirmed that talks between the Kings & Anaheim were indeed true.  All signs pointed to a move to Anaheim until momentum shifted in Sacramento's favor following Johnson's reportedly impressive financial presentation at the NBA Board of Governors meetings.

Now attention officially shifts toward Sacramento's efforts to build a new arena.  The capital city and its surrounding region has one year to prove to the NBA that a new entertainment-and-sports complex can be constructed to replace the antiquated Power Balance Pavilion.  Or else, this decision may turn out to be just a temporary reprieve from a Kings move elsewhere.

Sacramento Kings Relocation Saga: Maloofs To Announce Decision Monday, 10 AM

Brian May of News10 tweets that the Maloof owners have come to their final decision regarding the Sacramento Kings. They will announce it at 10 AM on Monday morning. The Maloofs had the weekend to decide whether to file for relocation or begin the process of returning to Sacramento.

There are three likely and potential scenarios in play.

  • The NBA has already made it clear that they would prefer the Maloof owners stay in Sacramento. Whether that preference has any effect on the final decision remains to be seen, but it's becoming clearer that the path to Anaheim could be littered with more loaning, more debt, and lack of making money. And they're not at all guaranteed to be moving, with many hurdles yet to clear. This couldn't possibly end well.
  • The road back to Sacramento will require a lot of rebuilding. They will have to reach out to the community, they will have to get an arena in place, or try and wait it out another year and make another bid for Anaheim. Nothing is certain if the Maloofs decide to keep the team and stay in Sactown. No one knows how long they'll be here.
  • Or they could be selling the team to someone else. This would ensure the Kings would be in Sacramento for quite awhile, and this is probably what Kings fans are rooting for.

What do you think the Maloofs will choose? Let us know in the comments!

For more on the Sacramento Kings, head to Sactown Royalty.


Sacramento Kings Relocation Saga: Sacramento Corporations Put Deposit Down on Kings

This morning, Mayor Kevin Johnson and representatives of 30+ businesses met with NBA officials (led by Chris Granger, an NBA Vice President who leads the Team Marketing and Business Operations division) to back up their pledge of $10.2 million for future sponsorship for the Sacramento Kings.

Mayor Johnson called it “a historic day” and that Sacramento had “made a down payment on the Sacramento Kings and this being their permanent home”.

Johnson went on to say that he is confident the city will know the status of the team’s future (at least for next year) by May 2nd, the newest deadline to file for relocation. The NBA’s relocation committee (headed by Clay Bennett, fresh off a visit to Sacramento last week) is expected to reconvene later this week and make their recommendation on whether or not the Kings should stay or move to Anaheim. All indications are that the recommendation will be to stay.

If the Kings do stay, the focus will shift from keeping the Kings here to a renewed focus on building an arena. The Taylor/ICON group currently have a feasibility plan in the works that will be ready by the end of May or early June. If Sacramento can finally put together a solid arena deal throughout the next year, the Kings could remain here for a long time. Otherwise it is very likely Kings fans and Sacramento have to go through this whole saga again, and probably with a much more negative result.

Visit Sactown Royalty for additional coverage on the Kings relocation saga.


Sacramento Kings Relocation: Kings Expected to Stay

The LA Times is reporting that the Kings, based on conversations with NBA officials, are expected to stay in Sacramento.

NBA officials now expect the Kings to play next season in Sacramento, league executives told The Times on Friday.

Whether the team, which was about to seek permission to move to Honda Center in Anaheim, stays in Sacramento beyond next season remains to be decided.

That will depend on city and county officials and local businesses redeeming the pledges made by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson before the NBA's relocation committee last week in New York, including support for a new downtown arena.

Mayor Kevin Johnson just wrapped up an afternoon press conference and could not delve deeply on the breaking news.  He said that he has not heard from Commissioner David Stern or other league officials regarding the LA Times' report, citing it would be premature to declare victory just yet.

"I say we went from a week ago thinking that we really had no shot of keeping them here," Johnson said.  "I feel a lot more confident about our ability to keep them here."

NBA representatives will be back in Sacramento next week.

Update (5:04 pm):  Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee reached Gavin Maloof on the report and tweeted the following comment from the Kings co-owner.

"Not what we (are) saying. We haven't said. Will let you know when we know."

Update (6:16 pm): The Kings issued this official statement about one hour ago.

“We await the results of the fact-finding visit that the NBA made to Sacramento the past two days. We have not made a decision with regards to relocation filing, and will not make that decision until we have more information from the NBA.”

Visit Sactown Royalty and follow this story stream for continued coverage on the Kings relocation saga.


Sacramento Kings Relocation Rumors: Anaheim Bonds May Be Successfully Blocked

On March 29th, the city council of Anaheim unanimously approved $75 million in bonds that would go towards enticing the Sacramento Kings to come to Anaheim. $25 million of the bonds would go towards upgrades to the Honda Center and $50 million would be going directly to the Maloofs to help with relocation costs. The bonds were backed by Henry Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks and main tenant of the Honda Center.

A couple days later a committee formed to gather signatures from registered voters in Anaheim in order to block the issuance of the bonds without a vote. Approximately 7,040 signatures would need to be gathered within 60 days, and if they did, the bonds would go up for a vote in June 2012 (barring a special election, which would come at extra cost).

Today, Rob Stutzman (leader of the signature campaign) reported to KHTK’s Mark Kreidler that the group had gathered more than the needed amount (at about 11,000) and were looking for even more as assurance. Stutzman also sent a letter to the NBA explaining exactly what this meant, that the bonds could not be issued until put to a public vote.

Although Samueli could opt to instead finance the loan himself directly instead of through city bonds to save time, this is yet another obstacle in the path of a relocation to Anaheim.


Sacramento Kings Relocation: David Stern Conference Call Quotes

At around 2 pm west coast time, the NBA held a pre-playoffs conference call with various NBA officials.  Commissioner David Stern answered a number of questions on numerous topics, including Kings relocation.

On reaction regarding the surprising involvement of Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle:

Actually the owners, with respect to Mr. Burkle, the owners heard that.  But they were really more focused on Mayor Johnson's delivery that talked about enhanced sponsorship revenue, enhanced season ticket sales and enhanced prospects for a new building. 

On the questions regarding the Maloofs' financial viability:

There was no discussion of the Kings financial condition.  As it related to Anaheim, it was a discussion of certain areas having to do with the contractual relationship between Mr. Samueli's organization and the Kings having to do with the building and having to do with television revenue and really having to do with upgrades that have to be done, substantial upgrades to the Honda Center to both comply with NBA operation standards and to enhance the fan and revenue generating experience at the Honda Center.

On why the relocation deadline was extended:

It's not what (the owners) didn't hear.  It's what it did hear from both sides.  They really wanted to understand what Mayor Johnson was talking about with respect to various changes and the fortunes in a new building campaign and the changes in how the team could be favorably impacted on sponsorships and ticket sales.  The Mayor really understood that ARCO, or excuse me, Power Balance Arena is not the arena of future.  And that Sacramento has to face up to the issue that when ARCO is no longer around, and it's on its last legs now and the NCAA won't even use it to host its tournaments, that Sacramento will be the 20th largest market and will be the only one of those 20 not to have an entertainment and sports center. 

And with respect to Anaheim, the various arrangements and the like hadn't been fully buttoned down.  They were changing a little bit in the last few days and so the committee wanted to study more what the Anaheim final arrangements looked like.  So, it seems smart to put off the application for a bit.  And that's what (Minnesota Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor, chairman of the board and (Oklahoma City Thunder owner) Clay Bennett, chairman of the committee, asked me to do.  And so I did it by asking for a motion at the board of governors and it passed unanimously.

On Mayor Kevin Johnson's presence:

Actually I would say the Mayor together with the ICON Group that he brought in (President & CEO) Tim Romani, the Mayor was persuasive in telling the committee that there seems to be an intensity that makes it the most intense time of interest to the community that he has seen.  And that he thinks that there may be some intelligent way to consider an arena project at a downtown site where the city owns land, where the federal government is supporting called an intermodal and so the owners wanted to know more.

On Clay Bennett's appointment as lead chairman of the NBA relocation committee:

The committee was appointed and he was on it and we hadn't appointed a chairman.  And he has stepped up to become quite involved with the issues with Anaheim, with Sacramento and frankly he's been doing such heavy lifting with respect to labor relations.  And he's a very willing participant in League board of governor affairs that it seemed like it was good idea to lean on him for this one.

Stern was asked if Bennett's appointment would be a conflict of interest.  Here is his audio of his response:

Follow this stream and Sactown Royalty for continued coverage on Kings relocation rumors.


New Relocation Deadline in Sacramento to Anaheim Saga

Commissioner David Stern came out in a Press Conference today and announced that the Maloofs and Board of Governors had jointly decided that another extension was needed before a decision could be made on whether or not to file for relocation.  The new deadline is May 2nd and it likely is the last time an extension will be granted.

Stern also revealed that the Board of Governors, chaired by Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett (a bit of a slap in the face as Bennett was the owner who moved the Supersonics from Seattle), would be using the time to do some fact finding.

Among the facts that they'll be studying are some of the facts presented by Mayor Kevin Johnson in yesterday's meeting about how Sacramento was willing and able to bring more money to the table to keep the team there, as well as looking at the new Arena plan being worked on by the David Taylor/ICON group.  The Arena was the real problem, Stern said, as numerous arena deals had fallen apart in the past.

"There's no denying that the Power Balance Pavilion - is an inadequate facility."

On the Anaheim side, Stern said their proposal was "not fully understood" by the committee and that during these next two weeks, the board would try to gain a better understanding of the lease agreement and potential television revenues.

Yesterday it was revealed that Southern California Billionaire Ron Burkle was interested in potentially buying the team and keeping them in Sacramento.  Before Stern's conference, George Maloof, one of the co-owners of the Kings, said that they were "100% not selling" and that Burkle "should go back to where he came from".  When asked directly about Burkle, Stern said that his proposal was not high on the priority list for things to consider.

When asked if the Los Angeles Area could support three teams, Stern said he believed that it could.  But do NBA owners want three teams in Southern California?  It looks like we'll find out May 2nd.

Keep up to date with this ongoing story by following this stream and by checking out Sactown Royalty.


Sacramento Kings Relocation Rumors: Who Is Ron Burkle?

So many of you are probably wondering who exactly this Ron Burkle fellow is who wants to buy the Sacramento Kings. Here is your bullet point summary.

  • He's a long-time supporter and donor to the Democratic Party, which should play quite strongly in the blue state of California and the liberal-leaning city of Sacramento. He is also connected to the Clintons. David Stern has long been rumored to be a Democratic donor.  Hmm ...
  • He owns or has owned a stake in Wild Oats Markets (natural foods), Golden State Markets (supplier of produce to fast food chains), and numerous other chain grocery stories. The man loves his supermarkets.
  • He has had a lot of stake in many notable retail chains, as Jason Kirk at SB Nation details.
  • The biggest mark to his credit is his part-ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and how he probably had a hand in saving their team from relocation. Considering the strong recent history of the Penguins during his ownership, the man clearly cares not only about small markets, but about winning too. If the Maloofs were to sell the franchise to him, this could end up being the best of all worlds for the NBA, the owners, and most importantly, the fans of Sacramento.

It's almost too good to be true. And you know what they say about things that are too good to be true ...

For more coverage, stay tuned to Sactown Royalty.


Sacramento Kings Relocation Rumors: Billionaire Ron Burkle Interested In Buying Team, Keeping Them In State Capital

There were a lot of plans thrown out in the past few months about keeping the Kings in Sacramento. However, until someone started issuing a concrete plan, nothing seemed to stick. Money talks, and until someone ponied up a real deal, it wasn't likely that there would be any real hope of stopping whatever relocation the Maloofs (owners of the team) had planned.

But there might still be hope. It seems Mayor Kevin Johnson still does have one last-ditch effort to preserve the team as the state capital's only major franchise. A group run by billionaire Ron Burkle seems to be making a big pitch to try and keep the team where it is by buying the team from Joe and Gavin Maloof. As has been pointed out about everywhere, the relocation fees to Anaheim would be hefty, and would likely set back the Kings owners quite a lot financially, meaning there would be no immediate financial relief. Perhaps a deal could be made that would work to serve the self-interest of all parties involved. Check out the press release here.

More importantly, the name of Burkle has piqued the interest of the most influential voice in NBA circles. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reports.

Burkle been working on this for weeks. When KJ told Stern he had a possible buyer, the commish made crack about it being a local car dealer. He dropped Burkle's name, and source says Stern went quiet. "You've got Burkle?"

Stern's piqued interest in a guy like Burkle could mean a lot. The NBA is always interested in deals that involve more money for them; comparing the track record of the mismanaged Maloof family and a true businessman like Burkle is like night and day.

Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story from Sactown Royalty.


Anaheim City Council Unanimously Approves $75 Million Bond Measure

Tonight, one of the few roadblocks that could've prevented a possible Sacramento Kings relocation was removed, as Anaheim approved a $75 million bond measure to entice the Kings to come to Orange County.  No member of the five-member city council voted against the measure.

The bonds will be paid for by Anaheim Ducks Owner Henry Samueli, with $50 million going to the Maloofs to cover relocation costs, and $25 million going to improvements on the Honda Center.  The Maloofs will have 10 years to pay off the bonds.  This way, there is no risk to the city or Anaheim Taxpayers if the Maloofs default on payments.  All risk is assumed by Samueli.

The City of Sacramento tried to stop the vote yesterday by sending a letter to Anaheim to "cease negotiations" with the Kings but it was ignored.

"Anaheim took a giant step closer to bringing an NBA team to Anaheim and the Honda Center," Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said after the vote. "I am thrilled. The better word is 'stoked.'"

The only remaining hurdle in the way of a Kings move involve NBA approval of the move if they file (a majority vote is needed out of all 30 NBA owners, including that of the Kings) and possible relocation fees associated with the moves, which will also be decided by a majority vote.  

Historically, getting a vote approved hasn't been a problem.  The last three relocations have come with relocation fees of $30 million.  But moving to Anaheim is a unique situation in that two other NBA teams (Lakers, Clippers) play a mere 23 miles from the Honda Center.  It was reported recently that a Kings move to Anaheim could cost the Lakers 10% of their new TV deal, rumored to be worth $3 billion.  Ten percent is $300 million.  If true, it's just one more reason the Lakers would want to make sure they get as much money as possible.  Clippers owner Donald Sterling also would be against a move, as his team already lives in the shadow of the Lakers, and more competition could hurt business.

If the Lakers and Clippers ask for exorbitant territorial fees, as they probably will, and more importantly, get them, it could scare the Maloofs out of making the move for now.  

But for now a move to Anaheim looks all the more likely, if not inevitable.

For more news on the possible relocation, keep following this StoryStream and check Sactown Royalty for more discussion on the topic.


City of Sacramento Tells Anaheim "Cease Negotiating With Kings"

As reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee, the city of Sacramento has sent a letter to Anaheim telling that city to cease its negotiations with the Kings and to not vote on the $75 million in bonds to upgrade the Honda Center to NBA standards and pay for some of the Maloofs relocation fees.

The letter (which can be found here and is linked to in Bizjak’s article), which was issued by Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg, says that if Anaheim decides to continue to negotiate with the Kings, than they should make any issuance of bonds to the Kings first "contractually require" that the Kings pay off their $77 million in debt to the City of Sacramento before they move to Anaheim.

Dangberg also goes on to say that Anaheim’s environmental review of the impacts of the Honda Center improvement project are "woefully inadequate". Bizjak goes on to say that an environmental impact challenge could be a precursor to a lawsuit.  He also said Monday that the city would seek state legislation to prevent a move without the Kings paying off the loan first.

City officials are worried the Kings might leave town without paying the loan because they have received no guarantee that it will be paid.  As of now, if the Maloofs leave town without paying, Sacramento gets the existing arena and a $25 million stake in the team, both of which are worth much less than the $77 million loan owed to the city.  The City has recently hired a lawfirm for $150,000 to ensure that the Maloofs pay up on the loan should they move as well.

How Anaheim responds to this could influence relocation one way or another. Sources told Sactown Royalty just last week that if Anaheim doesn’t approve bonds for the Kings before the deadline, it could be a dealbreaker.

For more on coverage, keep an eye on this stream and Sactown Royalty.

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