Tag: Henry Samueli


Anaheim billionaire throws more money to push Kings move

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Sacramento has all the momentum — reportedly the NBA and its relocation committee have told the Kings owners, the Maloof brothers, to stay put and not move their team this summer.

But the folks in Anaheim are not giving up, stepping in at the last minute to sweeten the deal to move the Kings south, according to the Sacramento Bee.

In a late move to land the Kings, Orange County billionaire Henry Samueli has offered to increase his personal loan to the team from $50 million to as much as $75 million, and has offered to buy a minority stake in the organization.

Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, also has agreed to make far more costly improvements to Anaheim’s Honda Center, which he manages, to bring that facility up to NBA standards.

Originally, Honda Center officials had planned to spend $25 million on upgrades. That figure has jumped in the last few days to $70 million, center officials said Thursday afternoon.

Randy Youngman at the Orange County Register adds that people in Anaheim have lined up three times the sponsorship money and improved the television package to $24 million a year (more than double the current deal in Sacramento) with the team’s games shown on a variety of networks.

Basically, while the city of Sacramento’s grass roots effort can raise $10 million, Samueli can push a lot more chips into the pot a lot more easily. That still likely will not save his hand.

This comes off as adding to some of the existing concerns of other owners — that the Maloofs are taking on too much debt, for one. And it does not change questions about the viability of a third team in the greater Los Angeles market.

As for Samueli offering to take on a minority stake in the team, it feels like he’s been angling for that or more all along. Giving the already debt-loaded Maloofs another loan would help keep him at the front of the line should the team ever be sold, a minority ownership share even more so.

The Maloof brothers have until Monday to decide if they are going to file for relocation with the league and test the other owners resolve to block them. With the league telling the Maloofs to stay put, they likely do not have the votes to get the Board of Governor’s approval for a move.

There has been talk the Kings could take their case to court, or try to pull an Al Davis and just move the team anyway. Both of those are tough uphill battles. Donald Sterling essentially already did that in 1984 when he moved the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles and after that the NBA change rules saying that an owner cannot move a team without Board of Governors approval. The Maloofs signed off on that when they bought the team.

NBA owners call timeout on Kings move, deadline pushed back

Kid kings fan

The NBA owners have called a timeout on the Kings efforts to move out of Sacramento and to Anaheim.

It likely still will happen, especially after the NBA took the ludicrous step of naming Clay Bennett — you remember him, the guy that bought the Sonics and put in a non-existent effort to get a new building in Seattle, then moved the team to Oklahoma city screwing the Sonics fan base — as the head of the relocation committee.

But the league is going to take a closer look at everything for a couple of weeks. So that’s something.

The bottom line is that the deadline to file an application to move has been pushed back to May 2, NBA Commissioner David Stern said. The board listened to presentations both from Anaheim people and Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento (and former NBA player).

Reports out of Sacramento say that after two days of meetings with the Board of Governors (made up of the other NBA owners) the Kings owners, the Maloof brothers, are frustrated. They wanted a faster process — they wanted a rubber stamp approval — and the other owners have a lot of questions.

“The terms of the relocation to Anaheim were not fully understood by the committee, having to do with the lease and the arraignments between the Kings and Anaheim entities,” Stern said at a press conference Wednesday. “In addition, Mayor Johnson came in and said there would be lots of additional dollars available that would improve the Kings economic performance in Sacramento if they stayed. And that the community had recently been mobilized and could aid a keeping of them there for a season.

“So the committee decided to do a little more fact finding.”

Stern followed up to say that while the documentation in Anaheim was not incomplete (a word he had used earlier), the others owners understanding of the documentation was incomplete. Says it was a complex deal that the owners could not get their heads around.

Johnson and Sacramento offered a couple carrots. One was the possibility of between $7 million and $9 million in new sponsorship and other revenues. In addition to better season ticket sales, things that could help keep the Kings in the black in Sacramento.

The owners also seemed to have questions about the lease deal the Maloofs are getting into, which includes Honda Center operator Henry Samueli (the owner of the NHL’s Ducks) getting a chunk of luxury box revenue and more.

“The committee wanted more time to understand certain financing issues, certain television issues, certain issues regarding construction that would need to be committed to to enhance the fan experience and raise revenue expectations at the building,” Stern said. “And, if the relocation were approved, what would be an appropriate relocation fee.”

Stern said that the idea of billionaire Ron Burkle stepping in to buy the team — something else Johnson brought up — was not a high priority. Unless the Maloofs want to sell, he’s not really going to have any leverage

In the end, as it always does in Sacramento, it came back around to the building. Stern hammered away at both how inadequate the current Power Balance Arena (formerly ARCO) was, and how there had been multiple efforts shot down. Stern was pretty bitter about it. As if telling Sacramento it had its chance, and it has been too slow in getting a new building up and running.

But for now, everybody has taken a time out.

Sacramento Kings to Anaheim more than rumors; fans push back

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

Things are dire in Sacramento.

Mayor Kevin Johnson (yes, that Kevin Johnson) said yesterday that the talk about the Kings moving to Anaheim was more than just rumors. Then today we learn that the Kings owners asked for, and likely will be granted (by a vote of the other owners), an extension past the March 1 deadline so they can continue to explore a move next to Disneyland. This is the NBA’s Statement:

“The Sacramento Kings have requested an extension of the March 1 deadline to give Kings ownership the opportunity to discuss their options with the Board of Governors at its April 14 – 15 meeting. The Board is currently considering the Kings’ request.”

They want to discuss their options with the other owners? Be afraid, Sacramento. This is picking up a lot of momentum. Anaheim has an NBA-ready building in the Honda Center. It’s a good building, a bit old and not as nice as Kansas City, for example.

But Anaheim comes with a massive, massive television market.

What Anaheim also has is a billionaire in Henry Samueli, the owner of the NHL’s Anaheim 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.

We heard from a league official that 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). The NBA Board of Governors (the other owners) could vote to make the Kings pay fees to the two Los Angeles teams, but that is not likely.

Did we mention there is a lot of momentum here? And it sucks.

Sacramento fans have been good to the Maloofs. Look at it this way: Phil Jackson — who has inspired more hate from the people in Sacramento than any person who has not been governor — thinks the team needs to stay there.

There is a push called Here We Stay, backed by Tom Ziller, one of the best bloggers in the business with his Sactown Royalty, among many others in the city. They are trying to sell out an upcoming Kings game. Then boost attendance at the other dozen home games the Kings have this season. To show that despite the team’s play, despite the economy Sacramento backs the Kings. They really shouldn’t need to display that because they did it for more than a decade. The Maloofs know that.

But it’s about suites and television deals. It shouldn’t be, it should be about the game and loyal fan bases. But it’s always about the money.

It’s clear which way this thing is leaning. And it sucks for Sacramento. For Kings fans. For the NBA.

Stern confirms that Kings owners talked with Anaheim


David Stern continues to provide cover for the Maloof brothers — the owners of the Sacramento Kings — to get out of Dodge if they so choose.

Meeting with the media Saturday, Stern confirmed that the Maloofs and representatives of the Honda Center in Anaheim have talked. That representative would be Henry Samueli, the owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, even though Stern did not name him.

Stern did not say where those talks stood, dodging that part of the question a couple times (saying nobody has told him where things stand).

But Stern did say the league is done trying to help Sacramento get an arena — they are on their own.

“All I’ll say is that we and they have tried very hard over the years to see whether a new building could be built (in Sacramento), and with the collapse of the last attempt — which took a few years and several million dollars on behalf of the league — I said we are not going to spend any more time on that,” Stern said. “That is for the Maloofs and the people of Sacramento.”

The reports are that Samueli — one of the co-founders of Broadcom and worth an estimated $1.7 billion — would get an ownership stake in the team and help wipe out a lot of the debt the Maloofs have built up, according to reports. The Honda Center building itself in Anaheim is NBA ready and Samueli has said he wants an NBA team there.

Still there are a lot of issues (starting with having to pay both the Lakers and Clippers steep relocation fees to move into their market, something that could tip the economic scales against this move.) This move remains a longshot at best. But the sides at least talked, and if the Maloofs want cover, Stern is happy to provide it for them.

The NBA’s Anaheim Kings? Come, connect the dots with us.

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With the latest stadium deal now dead in Sacramento, it doesn’t take much to get people in certain other markets dreaming of the NBA in their home town. Pictures of DeMarcus Cousins dominating in the paint and Tyreke Evans getting treatment for plantar fasciitis in their city fill the minds of young children with NBA dreams.

Along those lines, interesting article in the Orange Country Register Monday connecting the dots between the Sacramento Kings owners, Joe and Gavin Maloof, and the Honda Center in Anaheim. Or the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

The relocation rumors revved up again Friday when Bloomberg News Service reported that two private investment firms are negotiating to acquire a controlling interest in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, also owned by the Maloofs, after the family violated its loan covenants.

If the Maloofs are having significant financial problems — the Sacramento Bee reports that in 2009 the family sold its original beer distributorship in New Mexico for more than $100 million and that there also were staff layoffs in the Kings organization and at The Palms — then perhaps there is a greater sense of urgency to move the franchise to a market with better demographics, more potential corporate sponsors and an NBA-ready arena.

That’s where Anaheim comes in. If the Maloofs decide to move the Kings — or are forced to sell a team struggling on the court (NBA-worst 8-25 record) and struggling at the gate (29th out of 30 in home attendance) — Anaheim and San Jose are believed to be the most likely destinations because they both have NBA-quality arenas and waiting billionaires to help them overcome financial obstacles.

The billionaire in San Jose is Larry Ellison, he of Oracle and trying to buy the Warriors and Hornets.

In Anaheim that is Henry Samueli, the owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the guy booking the Honda Center. He is one of the co-founders of Broadcom and while his net worth has taken a tumble in this economy he is still worth an estimated $1.7 billion according to Forbes. Which wouldn’t suck.

Samueli has said he would love an NBA team in the building. He helps the Maloofs out financially with a partial ownership stake, they get a good arena deal at the Honda Center and… there are some dots.

We’re a long way from being able to connect all of them. The financial situation of the Maloofs may be overstated, for one. Times are not good in Vegas but we don’t know the details.  More importantly, at least publicly the Maloofs are not trying to move out of Sacramento.

But if the time comes — and it might — those dots might start to fill in.