This is a video of the Sacramento Kings’ broadcasters signing off for what may be the final time. After tonight’s heartbreaking loss to the Lakers, Kings fans stayed in their seats well after the game was over. They chanted that they were staying. The players came out to address the fans. In situations like this, the videos speak for themselves. The pictures speak for themselves.
We’re often reminded that the NBA is a business, and it is. The upcoming CBA negotiations will serve as a harsh reminder of that fact. In Sacramento, to Kings fans, Kings basketball was more that a business. On Tuesday night, professional basketball in Sacramento was more than a business. Sometimes we need to be reminded of that as well.
Kings get until April 18 to decide on Anaheim move
The Maloof brothers have a little more time to negotiate and think things through.
The NBA’s Board of Governors — the owners — has granted the Sacramento Kings an extension until April 18 to file for relocation next season, according to a tweet from CNBC’s Darren Rovell. That deadline is usually March 1. The board will meet again April 14-15, so if a move is approved it likely will be then.
The Kings are in talks with the Honda Center in Anaheim to move south next season and become the third team in the Southern California market.
The Maloof brothers — Joe and Gavin — have worked for years to get a new building in Sacramento that would house the Kings, but could not get a deal done. Combine that with the slumping economy, attendance being down because the team stunk and was boring, and you have the reasons the Kings have struggled financially.
Anaheim has an NBA-ready building in the Honda Center — it’s 18 years old but does have a lot of luxury boxes and the other high end seating that have become the real driver of team gate receipts and profit. What it also has is a massive Southern California television market (one where the Lakers just got a deal in the ballpark of $150 million a season).
All that does not ensure anything — the NHL’s Ducks play in that building and are 26th in that league in attendance, or 23rd in percentage of building filled.
The Honda Center is run by billionaire in Henry Samueli, the owner of said Ducks and co-founders of Broadcom. He is worth an estimated $1.7 billion. The Maloofs have said however they would not be selling the team to Samueli nor accepting a loan from him.
If the Kings were to move they would not have to pay territorial rights fees to the Lakers and Clippers (which likely would have killed such a move).
Monday night an organized rally of Kings fans filled the ARCO Arena to show the Maloof brothers how much support there still is for the Kings in Sacramento. Unquestionably there is — it has been a loyal and strong market. But high-end seating and local television revenues are the driving forces for NBA team finances, and that is where Sacramento has fallen short.
And we’ll know by April 18 if the Kings will screw over the Sacramento fans this summer.
Well, the arena in Sacramento is older, but starting next year we know it’s less likely to fall over. Maybe.
Sactown Royalty broke the story (later confirmed by the team) that as of next season the ARCO Arena will be known as the Power Balance Arena. ARCO had a 25-year naming rights deal that will be up at the end of this season (and you wonder why they need a new arena).
Orange County based Power Balance will have a five-year naming rights deal (with the current situation of the Kings ownership looking hard for new ways to get an arena built in the city as well as other options, it wouldn’t be prudent to go any longer with a deal).
Power Balance is a controversial product. The company sells wristbands — worn by a number of NBA players — that “use holographic technology” to “work with your body’s natural energy field” to improve balance and athletic performance.
The Phoenix Suns Jared Dudley has said the Phoenix Suns training staff is a backer of it, and some players swear by it including Lamar Odom. Manu Ginobili called it a “placebo.” There also are no shortage of people and Websites that think these are voodoo. Frankly, we’re more qualified to comment on voodoo than Power Balance bands, so we’ll stay out of the debate. I’ll add that I don’t own one and have had the chance.
But we’ll be using the name a lot the next five years (or so).
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson may need an assist to get stadium
Politicians by the very nature of the system don’t like to tell voters that something is hard or will not happen. This crosses all party lines — telling voters bad things are coming or needed does not win votes, so they avoid it. When they say something is bad, they are serious.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson went on KHTK radio in Sacramento with Mike Lamb and Grant Napear and said that things were bad. Getting a new building and keeping the Kings was going to be hard. Nobody has talked about moving the Kings (yet) but this is a team in a bad building in an area hit hard by the recession (Sacramento relied heavily on building and related trades) that will need a change one way or another.
Johnson was honest. Which should scare Kings fans.
I know both [hosts] know it’s going to be very difficult to build a sports facility in California. It’s tough to do it when it’s in good times and it’s very challenging to do it in California when there aren’t good times. The San Diego Chargers for years have been trying to get a new stadium. The LA community, the city of LA doesn’t even have a football team right now because it’s hard. Why is that? Because anytime you look at a sports model for building a new entertainment sports complex, public financing is usually part of their model. In California that immediately in some cases triggers a public vote [ed. note: needs two-thirds approval] which makes it very difficult to happen in California.”
The reality of losing also would hurt Sacramento in both a monetary and to the city’s psyche.
The Sacramento Kings organization means so much to our community and we’ve got to do everything we can to try and put ourselves in a position to build a new entertainment and sports complex. In terms of keeping them here, if we do not keep the Kings in Sacramento, it will be very difficult for our city to recover when we lose our only professional franchise. It is very difficult to get them into a community and once you have them here, we have demonstrated we have some of the best fans in all of sports let alone the NBA. To lose them would be very, very difficult. The good news is they have never threatened or anything I’ve heard where they’ve said we’re thinking about going anywhere else. Joe just said the other day that ‘we’re committed, we’re disappointed that this opportunity at Cal Expo and the Convergence plan did not come to fruition. We knew it was a long shot.’
Nobody is talking about a move. Yet.
NBA pulls back efforts to bring new arena to Sacramento. Moving trucks start warming up.
In the past few years, the Maloof brothers (owners of the Kings) have been able to pull back from the messy politics of getting a new arena built for the Sacramento Kings. That’s because four years ago David Stern himself said he personally and the NBA offices would work to get a deal done.
Last week, the Cal Expo board voted not to pursue a City Council backed deal that would have leveraged the land in the city to build a new sports arena and complex plus turn the current ARCO Arena site into new fairgrounds for the Expo. Now the NBA is done leading the fight, according to the Sacramento Bee, which learned of this through an email from league officials.
“On the heels of the disappointing – but not surprising – action (or inaction) of the state and Cal Expo board, it is fair to say that the NBA has ceased its activities on the Sacramento arena front,” league representative John Moag said in an e-mail to The Bee. “However, we will continue to monitor and respond to the activities and options of others that might reasonably ensure the competitiveness and viability of the Kings’ franchise.”
Back in 2006, Sacramento voters shot down an idea to raise the city sales tax to pay for an arena. That sparked the NBA involvement, which evolved into the now dead Cal Expo deal. The Kings are not interested in trying to refurbish ARCO Arena.
Which means it’s back to square one. Sacramento has a mayor — former Suns point guard Kevin Johnson — who wants to get a deal done. Several people and groups involved in the Cal Expo deal are coming forward with a new plan involving several properties, which will go public in a month or so.
Meanwhile, the threat of a move becomes more real.
There are NBA ready buildings right now in Anaheim and Kansas City, among other places. So long as they make the announcement by March, the Kings could be playing somewhere else by next season.
This is not good for the fans of Sacramento — a very loyal and deserving fan base. They were one of the loudest, most fearsome road venues in the league a decade ago. But the economics of the NBA have changed to more suites and high-end seating, and ARCO did not change. And unless something comes together soon Sacramento may lose its team.