SBD/February 28, 2011/Franchises

Sacramento Mayor Lashes Out At Kings For Failing To Deliver Arena Docs

Johnson has expressed disappointment about Kings' talks with Anaheim
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson "lashed out Friday night at the Sacramento Kings ownership for failing to make good on a promise to deliver key arena feasibility documents to city representatives" last week, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Johnson: "This is both frustrating and disappointing, as we believe the city deserves better. I hope this is not an indication of an unwillingness to engage with us as full partners." Kings officials Friday said that they "intend to turn some documents over" this week. Bizjak noted Johnson "already had expressed disappointment Thursday to learn second-hand that the Kings are in negotiations with Anaheim officials about a possible team move to that city" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/26). California Assembly member Roger Dickinson Friday said that a "local group of Sacramento-area investors should be sought to buy the Sacramento Kings and ensure that the team does not leave town." Dickinson: "It's very hard to win back public support for an ownership group that has indicated they're no longer interested in being in town." Dickinson said that local ownership "could boost prospects for financing a new Kings arena." He added that he was "not soliciting investors and was not aware of any such group coming together" (SACBEE.com, 2/25).

STEPPING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin reports Kings Owners the Maloofs, "after days of mulling whether to attend tonight's game against the Clippers" at Arco Arena, "reportedly decided to return to their courtside seats largely because of the buzz within the community." The "Here We Stay" campaign is "generating energy through social networking and organizing tonight's rally outside the arena," and the "Sac Deflated" creators from the Glass Agency, a local advertising group, "have chipped in with five static billboards and eight static signs at different locations." Voisin: "Don't believe for a second that the Maloofs aren't receptive to hugs and kisses, plants and flowers and, particularly, raucous sellout home crowds. But one sellout won't do it. Twelve home games remain." Assuming the NBA BOG grants the Maloofs an extension for notifying the league of relocation until the annual owners meetings April 14-15, Sacramento "has some wiggle room to apply the squeeze and gain some momentum" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/28). Voisin yesterday reported that "one reason the Maloofs were reluctant to attend Monday's game was that they were fearful of opening their mouths -- a common occurrence -- about the arena situation." NBA Commissioner David Stern "has urged them to remain mum on the topic and their local handlers have advised them to stay away from Arco because they are famously accessible and accommodating to members of the media" (SACBEE.com, 2/27).

FRUSTRATION MOUNTS: In Sacramento, Peter Hecht wrote, "Embattled and frustrated over failed attempts to build a new Sacramento arena, the Maloofs have found themselves depicted as princes of petulance, team owners who are anything but team players." Kings investor Bob Cook, who "expresses empathy for the Maloofs as he strongly opposes a move to Anaheim," said, "I'm guessing that they're very, very frustrated. They're used to getting things done and unfortunately this arena situation has been moving with the pace of a snail. I don't blame them. But it would be devastating to Sacramento, absolutely devastating financially and emotionally." Political consultant David Townsend said the Maloofs' relationship with Sacramento has deteriorated "from an incredibly wild, fun first few years into a really bad marriage" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27). Also in Sacramento, Marcos Breton wrote the Maloofs, "sensitive and emotional," are "said to be furious with Johnson right now." But the "truth is, the Maloofs have never understood how Sacramento ticks and Sacramento officials have never had any success in dealing with the Maloofs" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/27).

NO PLANS FOR VEGAS: In Las Vegas, Mark Anderson noted the Maloofs have "strong local ties" in the city, but he cites a source as saying "nothing is going on with Vegas." With "all the new Las Vegas-area arena plans still in the conceptual stage, the Maloofs would rather look at an area two other teams ... call home" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/26).
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Sacramento Kings, NBA, Franchises

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