SBD/March 2, 2011/Facilities

Power Balance "Revisiting" Naming-Rights Deal With NBA Kings

Concerns Kings might relocate lead Power Balance to revisit arena deal
Sports wristband company Power Balance yesterday said that it "is 'revisiting' its recently inked business deal" with the NBA Kings to "put the Power Balance name" on Arco Arena, according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Kings officials said that the facility's name was "formally changed Tuesday from Arco Arena to Power Balance Pavilion," and the Power Balance name is "going up in spots around the building." But Power Balance officials said that they are "delaying installing a Power Balance sign over the front door pending resolution of the talks that could send the Kings packing to the Honda Center in Anaheim after just 11 more games in Sacramento." Power Balance spokesperson Adam Selwyn said that the company "knew when it negotiated with the Kings a move might happen, but officials were surprised at the speed of the process." Selwyn: "They went into this with eyes open. But I don't believe they were aware of the specifics. The sort of expedited process has been a little surprising." Selwyn added that the company "remains committed to a long-term marketing partnership with the Kings, which includes promotions at" team Owner the Maloof family's Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas "and other Maloof ventures." Power Balance in a statement said, "The arena naming rights was but one element of an innovative and broad partnership. There is every expectation that the partnership will continue even if the Kings were to relocate."

GIVEN GIFT OF MORE TIME
: Bizjak reports the NBA yesterday announced that it will "extend a March 1 deadline" for the Kings to file for relocation "by six weeks to give the Kings more time to talk with Anaheim about moving the team south next season." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that he and other community leaders are "nonetheless laying plans to fight to keep the team." Johnson: "The likelihood of them leaving is probably greater than them staying, but it's not a done deal. There is still time on the clock." Johnson said that he "expects to have a phone conversation today with NBA Commissioner David Stern, and a face-to-face meeting later this week with members of the Maloof family" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/2). Johnson added, "It's clear (the Kings) are looking to try to strike or create a deal with Anaheim. ... If they don't get a deal, they'll choose Sacramento. I don't think Sacramento has a whole lot of say right now." In L.A., Lance Pugmire reports there have "already been internal arena discussions in Anaheim about the need to change the Kings' name because the NHL's Kings are the leading rival of the Honda Center's original occupant, the Ducks" (L.A. TIMES, 3/2). Johnson said of Anaheim, "I'm wishing them ill will, let me be clear. We're wishing them ill will. I told that to the Anaheim mayor in a delicate way last week. I am rooting against him" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/2).

PROS AND CONS: In Sacramento, Dale Kasler writes if the "hearts-on-their-sleeves Maloofs are looking for a community to embrace the Kings like Sacramento has, they might want to think twice about moving." The Kings "would compete against numerous entertainment options" in Anaheim, and it "could be years before the Kings truly capture Orange County's hearts and minds." The Maloofs' request for more time to decide on relocation was "front-page news" in Sacramento "but was buried in the Orange County Register's sports section." Experts said that the Lakers and Clippers "likely would try to persuade fellow owners, who must OK the relocation by majority vote, to say no." The teams also "could demand hefty 'territorial rights' fees before allowing the Kings into Southern California." But there are "plenty of other temptations" for the Maloofs to relocate the franchise, including that nearby Costa Mesa, Calif., is a "venue for their skateboarding competition, the Maloof Money Cup." The demographics are "inviting too -- a market of 5 million people in Orange, Riverside and northern San Diego counties, more than twice the population of greater Sacramento." Also, the "media money could be huge" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/2).

FOOTING THE BILL: In N.Y., Andrew Adam Newman notes "pro bono advertising campaigns" such as the recently launched "Sac Deflated" initiative "arise from a groundswell of citizens that persuades an agency to volunteer its services, but in this case a Sacramento firm, the Glass Agency, is heading the effort." The Glass Agency estimated that the value of the campaign, "which consists of four billboards and eight digital billboards," is "as much as $200,000." A Facebook page was also launched as part of the campaign, and it has "about 5,000" fans. Glass Agency President Amber Williams said that the outdoor ads, "which began Feb. 22 for a 30-day run, were bought at a discounted rate from billboard owners who were sympathetic." Williams added that if the Kings were to leave, Sacramento "will lose cachet and that could hurt Glass when bidding against agencies from Madison Avenue and elsewhere." Williams: "For us, being from a city that has that legitimacy of a professional sports team is so critical to being taken seriously when we enter a room. The Kings leaving could be detrimental for how Sacramento is received, and ultimately for how we are received as an agency" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/2).
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