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SBD/February 28, 2012/Facilities
Sacramento, Kings Reach Agreement On Financing Plan For Downtown Stadium
Published February 28, 2012
FOLLOW THE MONEY: The Kings' share of the arena is "shrouded in uncertainty." The Maloofs said that they would "obtain financing to produce" $75M upfront. Some of that money would come from the "eventual sale of the old arena site." The team also agreed to "provide the city with about" $75M in game-night revenues. Much of that would "come from ticket surcharges." The Maloofs' financial commitment to the arena project "surprised some observers in light of their recent woes." But when asked how the family would get $75M, George Maloof said, "We can finance that." The NBA "may also assist in the deal, but the details aren't clear." Stern said, "(The owners) have authorized me to be as supportive as we could possibly be in this process so we could cement the future of the NBA in Sacramento." AEG is "expected to control a big share of the building's profits." A source said that the city would "share in the dollars if arena profits exceed a certain threshold" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/28). Though Stern on Saturday said that the NBA "would not be contributing money to the arena project, that stance apparently changed over the weekend" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/28).
DECISIVE QUESTION: In Sacramento, Ryan Lillis notes the city's "decades-long fight for a new arena came down to a single question." Johnson on Sunday asked the Maloof brothers, "Are you committed to Sacramento?" Johnson yesterday said, "Each one of them, one after another, said, 'Yes, we want to be in Sacramento.' I knew at that point we had an excellent opportunity of making this deal happen" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/28). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes the Kings -- and the community -- are on the "verge of writing one of the most improbable, memorable and sappiest stories in modern professional sports." Voisin: "Seriously, look around the NBA. These threatened relocation sagas rarely end happily for the home team" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/28). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto said it was not Johnson keeping the Kings in Sacramento, although “he carried his end of the piano but mostly this is about the fact that the Maloof's holdings have been cratering for some time and they're really out of options. If Sacramento didn't happen there was really no place for them go because they were never getting into Anaheim, as desperately as they wanted it." They "had a better chance of going to San Diego and they didn't want do that and the Seattle arena is still a good four or five years away" (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/27).
USEFUL PUSH: In L.A., Lance Pugmire notes the Kings' deal to stay in Sacramento is "likely a fatal blow to Anaheim's effort to bring an NBA team" to Honda Center next season. Had the Sacramento deal fallen apart, Anaheim was "standing by with arena operator and Ducks owner Henry Samueli willing to lend the Maloofs millions to help with the transition." George Maloof said that he and AEG officials "'never spoke' about the company's interest in assisting Sacramento as a way to keep a third NBA team out of the Southern California market." Maloof said, "Never part of the discussion." Meanwhile, the Honda Center "remains without an NBA team despite" a $20M upgrade that began this month to "help solidify its standing as a potential NBA home" (L.A. TIMES, 2/28). In California, Randy Youngman notes the Maloofs "reportedly had conversations with Honda Center officials recently" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/28). Also in California, Mark Whicker writes the "point is that Stern wanted the Kings to stay in Sacramento, and Johnson ... was dangling his political life over this ledge." Whicker: "So a franchise stays where it belongs. Bravo." Whicker added, "Without the Honda Center's push, Sacramento builds nothing for the Maloofs. ... The NBA will continue to find Anaheim useful. Its continued interest will be a useful option for other clubs" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/28).
OFFER STILL ON THE TABLE: In Seattle, Bob Condotta writes, "Cheers from Sacramento on Monday don't necessarily silence Seattle's hopes of again hosting an NBA basketball team." That was the message from Seattle-area politicians and Seattle investor Chris Hansen, the "man behind the plan to build a new arena in the Sodo District that would potentially house NBA and NHL franchises." Hansen's group spokesperson Peter McCollum wrote in an e-mail, "The Sacramento announcement doesn't change Chris' proposal or his commitment to build an arena in Seattle. He has already purchased the land and put a serious offer in front of the City (of Seattle) and (King) County. It's up to the City and County now to evaluate that proposal and decide how they want to proceed" (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/28). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ratto said, “The reason why the NBA is happy about this is because they want to keep Seattle open for other teams that are looking to get out, including the team they own themselves, the New Orleans Hornets. So if Sacramento stays in place they can take New Orleans and move it to Seattle when something is ready up there” (“Chronicle Live,” Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/27).