SBD/November 9, 2012/Facilities

Kings Co-Owner George Maloof Meets With Virginia Officials Regarding Potential Move

George (l) and Joe Maloof would face millions in expenses tied to any relocation
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and officials from Comcast-Spectacor "met in Richmond last week" along with NBA Kings co-Owner George Maloof in regards to the team moving to Virginia Beach, according to Bruce Rader of WAVY-NBC. Sources said that they "don’t believe the arena can survive without the assurance that the Kings will sign a long term deal." But Rader writes it "won’t be cheap." The Kings will have "plenty of expenses, at least a $30 million dollar relocation fee to be paid to their fellow NBA owners, as well as $10 to $15 million in moving expenses." As much as Kings Owners the Maloofs "would like Virginia Beach to help them with their $67 million arena debt in Sacramento that will never happen." The Kings would have to play their games at Old Dominion Univ.'s Ted Constant Center "for two seasons while the arena is being built." Thus the team would "want to be compensated for lost revenue -- the total cost, including relocation fees, moving expenses and lost revenue for two years would be somewhere around $100 million" (WAVY.com, 11/9). Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof on Thursday, when asked if the team had met with McDonnell, said, "No." In Sacramento, Bizjak & Kasler note Maloof "offered no elaboration." Sessoms said a professional team is "very interested" in a move to Virginia Beach. But he "refused to name the team or comment on any meetings" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/9).

TRUST ISSUES? USA TODAY's Sam Amick notes the Maloof family "has said consistently that they don't want to sell." But the "mistrust in the Maloofs runs deep in these parts, and so the tension remains in what has become a most awkward arrangement between a once-beloved team and its city." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said, "All things being considered, I would like to believe that (the Maloofs) have a change of heart and are willing to reconsider selling at a fair price and that they would give us a chance to keep the team here in Sacramento." But Amick writes what is "real is the fact that the continued absence of viable options locally makes it all the more likely that the Kings could be on the move." At this point, the "widely held view in NBA circles is that a team will return to Seattle sooner rather than later." Other cities also are "surely trying to lure the Kings." If the Kings are to stay in Sacramento, "something has to be done about their venue." Sleep Train Arena is "seemingly falling apart before everyone's eyes." Kings fans were once "among the best in the league," but now, "not so much." A sellout crowd of 17,317 attended the Kings' home opener against the Warriors on Monday, "only to be followed by a dismal turnout" of 10,185 for Wednesday's game against the Pistons (USA TODAY, 11/9).
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