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.