SBD/January 15, 2013/Franchises

Sources: NBA Holds Conference Call To Outline Deal Points Of Proposed Kings Sale

Hansen (r) and his group reportedly would purchase a 65% stake in the Kings
The NBA last Tuesday "held a conference call with members of the league's relocation committee to outline deal points" on the proposed sale of majority ownership of the Kings to a group led by Seattle hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen, according to sources cited by Adrian Wojnarowski of YAHOO SPORTS. Sources said that the call "detailed what NBA officials described as 'a non-binding set of deal points'" on a $525M sale of majority ownership to Hansen's group, which also includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Sources said that the call informed several league owners that the Hansen-Ballmer group would "purchase 65 percent of the Kings." The NBA office told members of the relocation committee that the "non-binding agreement would constitute 53 percent of the franchise owned by the Maloof family and an additional 12 percent from minority owner Bob Hernreich." Wojnarowski wrote it is "unclear if the selling of 53 percent of the Maloofs' share would leave them with any future stake in the franchise." However, sources said that there is "no circumstance" where the Maloofs would have "any real input or governance over day-to-day team operations" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/14). Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said, "We've been paying close attention to all the news reports, and my staff has touched base with their staff. Something's going on, and there's clearly discussions going on, but there's not a finish line that I know about." McGinn when asked what he is hearing from Hansen's group said, "The same thing they tell you. ... They're not commenting" (SEATTLEPI.com, 1/14).

HOPE FOR SACTOWN? NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper wrote if the Maloof family sells the Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer group, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will be "down to his final hope: The Board of Governors, one representative from each team, either an owner or high-ranking executive as proxy, refusing to approve." Such an outcome would be "very rare, and maybe even unprecedented." Johnson in essence would be "urging owners to deny the bid of a group that by every indication has the financial resources and wants to CPR new life into a floundering franchise by moving it to a city with major corporate backing and a tradition of supporting sports" (NBA.com, 1/14).

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN: In Sacramento, Lillis, Kasler & Bizjak report Kings fans yesterday "launched a website asking people to make nonbinding commitments to purchase season ticket packages in a new Sacramento arena should new owners emerge here for the Kings." Meanwhile, a petition asking NBA Commissioner David Stern to "allow a local ownership group the opportunity to match a bid by interests seeking to move the Kings to Seattle eclipsed 7,700 signatures." If a new ownership group "keeps the team in town and builds a new arena, the list will be given to the Kings' sales staff." As of late yesterday, more than 2,100 fans said that they would "buy tickets at a total value of more than $7.3 million" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/15). A SACRAMENTO BEE editorial states in part, "The possible bidders who are lining up to keep the Kings in Sacramento deserve serious consideration from the NBA and the team's current owners." The ownership groups have to "prove their financial muscle, and their proposals need to be fully developed and vetted." Nonetheless, it is "encouraging that potential investors have stepped forward." Many in Sacramento are "justifiably sick and tired of the Kings soap opera." They "would not shed many tears if the team left." But it is "well worth a little more angst to see if there's a plausible path to keep the Kings in Sacramento, with new, committed owners and without too much public expense" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 1/15).
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