In the bid to buy the Kings, the Seattle group — led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — are largely working quietly, behind the scenes to make their case. Outside of setting up a place where fans could show their support by getting on a list to buy season tickets, and releasing renderings of their arena proposal, they have worked behind the scenes.
Sacramento’s process is much more public by design — they want to win public support, plus they have a very heavily involved civic government (mayor Kevin Johnson is helping spearhead the effort).
The latest step is the formal announcement they have an agreement to build a new arena near the city’s downtown plaza area (something we reported on before and we all knew was coming). The Sacramento Bee has the details.
Sacramento officials announced Saturday they have reached a deal for the largest redevelopment project in city history – a $447.7 million arena at the Downtown Plaza, with up to 1.5 million square feet of offices, housing, stores and a high-rise hotel….
It would require the city to commit $258 million in value, or 58 percent of the arena cost. Of that, $212 million would come from selling bonds backed by future revenues from city downtown parking garages. The city’s contribution is the same as it was in last year’s aborted project to build an arena at the downtown.
Tuesday night the Sacramento City Council is expected to sign off on the deal.
A group of NBA owners from the committees considering the sale and relocation of the team are meeting April 3 with the Sacramento and Seattle groups. Both sides will make their case. The Maloof family has an agreement to sell 65 percent of the Kings to the Seattle group, which has an arena in the environmental review stages and would want to move the Kings to Seattle starting next season.
Those committees from the April 3 meetings will report to the full NBA Board of Governors on April 18 and those owners will have to vote up or down on the sale (requiring 2/3 approval, meaning 8 owners can block it) and the relocation (a majority vote allows the move).
But expect this race to be won or lost before that big vote.