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Maloof Sports & Entertainment yesterday announced a five-year deal for sports bracelet-maker Power Balance to take over naming rights for the NBA Kings' arena. Arco Arena will be known as Power Balance Pavilion beginning March 1. The agreement also includes local retail incentive programs and integration across Kings Owner the Maloof family's portfolio of properties and events. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed (MSE). In Sacramento, Dale Kasler notes Arco, which is "ending its 25-year relationship with the organization," has been "paying about $750,000 a year for the building's naming rights." Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof said the Power Balance deal is a "big win for the franchise" and a "positive development all around." Maloof: "Everybody was telling us we could never get it done." But Kasler notes the deal "could carry some public-relations risk for the Kings." Power Balance is "small but fast growing" and is "favored by NBA players and other athletes." But it "has been forced to defend its claims that its $29.95 silicone wristbands 'work with your body's natural energy field' to enhance strength and athletic ability." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Managing Dir Paul Swangard said that if the "controversy endures, it could hurt the Kings." He noted by selling naming rights to Power Balance, the Kings are "endorsing that product." Swangard: "You've got to be careful about that stuff" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Freeman sarcastically wrote, "Nothing will make the Kings seem more legitimate than aligning themselves with a company that used to trust in junk science" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/11).
WHAT'S THE DEAL? BLOOMBERG NEWS' Michele Steele reports the Power Balance agreement is a "multimillion-dollar deal that surpasses the yearly value of the Arco contract." Steele: "The team could make more money on the deal, (Joe) Maloof tells me, depending on how retail sales of those (Power Balance) bracelets goes in the arena." Maloof: "Arco told us about four months ago that they weren't going to extend the relationship, and in four months, we were able to find one. It was unbelievable. We found a great partner, and it's a multimillion-dollar deal. It was pretty easy, even in these difficult times." Meanwhile, Steele notes Power Balance recently admitted that "no credible scientific evidence exists that it actually improves energy or balance." Steele: "A lot of people are saying that possibly there is bad PR here, but they are obviously making moves to be more credible in the sports business space" ("In The Loop," Bloomberg TV, 1/12).
TEST CASE FOR SMALLER MARKETS: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at a State of Downtown breakfast yesterday said NBA Commissioner David Stern told him if the Kings "can't make it work in Sacramento, then he doesn't know if mid-sized markets around the country are going to make it." Johnson: "We are carrying the baton for mid-sized markets." In Sacramento, Ryan Lillis notes the Maloofs "have said for months they need to look at other options outside of Sacramento for the Kings." Johnson said it was "good business" and "not new to me" that the Maloofs would explore other cities (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/12). Joe Maloof yesterday said, "We want to concentrate on Sac, get it done here. We really do have to get attendance up. That's critical and we know we have to have a better team." He added, "The state of the union is this: Our suite sales are doing very, very well. We're doing well on our sponsorships and partnerships. Not great, but north of last year. We've worked really hard at picking up some local companies, like UC Davis. So in two of the three areas, we're doing fine." More Maloof: "We've seen the best and the worst, and I'm ready to start winning again. This (naming rights deal) is a positive thing for us. That's what people want to hear. They're tired of all the negative" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/12).
MOVING DOWN THE COAST? KFBK-AM's Rob McAllister cited sources as saying that the Maloofs have met with Ducks and Honda Center Owner Henry Samueli about potentially relocating the franchise to Anaheim. The two sides "met early in 2010, but the Maloofs were not willing to accept a deal." However, the two sides recently "met again," and Joe and Gavin Maloof "are more open to striking a deal." The plan "includes moving the Kings to the Honda Center in Anaheim," and Samueli giving the Maloofs $100M "to pay off some debt as well as help pay off the territorial rights to the Clippers and Lakers." If the Maloofs "default on that loan, then Samueli would assume some control of the team" (KFBK.com, 1/11).
Broward County Commissioners "voted solidly in opposition Tuesday to a proposal to spend Broward’s hotel bed taxes to fix up the 23-year-old Sun Life Stadium in Miami-Dade County," according to Brittany Wallman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The bill, proposed by the Dolphins, "would make it legally possible for Broward to spend tourist taxes outside county borders, on the stadium." Even if the Florida state Legislature passes it, approval from Broward commissioners "would be needed to make it happen." Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene said the team is "disappointed" by Broward's opposition to the idea, "long before everyone has been able to weigh the merits of a specific proposal." Wallman noted Dolphins CEO Mike Dee had "floated the idea to hoteliers and tourism officials in Broward in recent months, but the team was unprepared to defend it or champion it when the idea became public last week." Likewise, "no one stepped up to support it Tuesday" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/11). Sunrise Sports & Entertainment yesterday in a statement applauded Broward County Commissioners for their vote. SSE President & COO Michael Yormark appeared before the commission yesterday to voice SSE's and BankAtlantic Center's opposition to the Dolphins' proposal. Yormark said, "Their request is, in effect, to use Broward County tax dollars to help a privately owned Miami-Dade facility compete with a publicly owned facility in Broward County. As such, we remain vehemently opposed to that request" (SSE).
In K.C., Michael Mansur noted the Jackson County (Mo.) Legislature “approved two actions Monday -- refinancing bonds issued” in '98 to upgrade the Truman Sports Complex and spending $200,000 a year to “replace a bond surety requirement related to the larger 2006 bond issue that produced nearly $450 million to renovate" Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Jack Holland, who advised the county on its bonds, indicated that by refinancing the '98 bonds, “$300,000 will be generated annually.” Sanders: “This will put us in a better financial situation for 2011” (K.C. STAR, 1/11).
DEMOLITION DERBY: CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats Owner Bob Young and Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina yesterday “unveiled a plan to demolish and rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium as a 25,000-seat home for the football team for the next 20 years.” Young and Bratina said that the team is “willing to stay in its longtime home if improvements are made.” Young said that team sponsors Molson-Coors, Primus and Tim Hortons “have agreed to provide money for the project, though he didn’t give any specific dollar amounts.” The “newly revamped stadium will also have enough seats to host Grey Cup games in the future” (Hamilton SPECTATOR, 1/12).
SMOKING BAN IN STANDS: In Richmond, John Reid Blackwell reports Richmond Int’l Raceway yesterday announced that “smoking will be prohibited in its 94,000-seat grandstands and the portals leading into the seating areas.” The policy will be in effect for the April 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Smoking still “will be allowed in most other outdoors areas at RIR, including underneath and behind the grandstands.” Blackwell notes the move “underscores how the tobacco industry’s role in the sport has diminished over the years” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 1/12).
BREAKING GROUND: Towson Univ. yesterday announced plans to build a “new 5,000-seat arena for basketball, gymnastics and volleyball.” The school “plans to chronicle the arena's construction" on a dedicated website, TigerArena.com, "starting with the groundbreaking scheduled for May through the anticipated completion of the project” in spring '13. The arena “will be funded through a combination of public and private funds” (Baltimore SUN, 1/12).