SBD/March 3, 2011/Franchises

Maloofs, Mayor Kevin Johnson Finally Meet About Kings' Future In Sacramento

Maloofs sat courtside for second home game since Anaheim plans became public
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson yesterday "finally met" with Kings Owners the Maloofs before the team's home game against the Trail Blazers, and Johnson said the participants "had a candid and productive conversation about our mutual goals and interests" during the 40-minute meeting, according to Ryan Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Johnson: "I made clear that our community wants the Kings to stay, but we are fully aware that this is ultimately their decision. ... I fully expect to continue an open, direct and proactive dialogue with the Maloofs as we all move forward." Kings officials yesterday reiterated that they are "not commenting publicly on the issue of the team's future or the effort to build a new sports arena in Sacramento." Lillis reports Johnson yesterday also "spoke by phone with NBA Commissioner David Stern for 45 minutes." R.E. Graswich, Johnson's special assistant, "described that conversation as positive." Meanwhile, Sacramento-area business and labor leaders yesterday "began to amp up pressure to build a new sports arena in Sacramento and keep the Kings in town." Three of the "most influential business groups in the city -- the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Sacramento Metro Chamber and the Sacramento Convention and Visitors' Bureau -- released a joint statement saying a new arena would create jobs and that building a new facility here 'will require a significant commitment and investment from the community'" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/3). In Sacramento, Jason Jones notes Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof last night "were courtside for the second consecutive game." The Maloofs "have attended both home games since speculation about a potential move to Anaheim picked up All-Star weekend." Johnson also was "on hand for a second consecutive game" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/3).

NO ONE TRICK PONY: In Sacramento, Carla Meyer in a front-page piece reports the future of Power Balance Pavilion as the "region's premier concert venue" is getting "lost in the din about the Kings' possible exit." The arena "draws some of music's hottest acts -- and there is no indication a Kings exit for Anaheim would end entertainment events at the arena." The Maloofs "own the arena as well, and will keep control of the building as long as they pay back $67 million they owe the city of Sacramento." The Maloofs did not comment on the arena's future, but Live Nation Dir of Marketing Chris Martinez said that the promoter "still is on board for events." Meyer notes "other arenas have shown they can survive, even thrive, without anchor teams," as Seattle's KeyArena "has attracted more entertainment since it lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma in 2008" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/3).
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