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SBD/March 11, 2013/Franchises
Stern Says Sacramento Group Needs To Increase Offer For NBA Kings
Published March 11, 2013
READING BETWEEN THE LINES: Sources said that the gap between the Seattle and Sacramento bids is "substantial and well into eight figures.” But in Sacramento, Ailene Voisin wrote while Stern’s comments were “succinct and sobering, perhaps even alarming,” his mood “wasn't all doom and gloom.” Stern on several occasions "tempered his remarks with encouraging words for Sacramento and at one point praised the mayor and city leaders for their 'Herculean efforts.'" Meanwhile, in an “obvious jab at the Maloofs, Stern referred to the Mastrov/Burkle proposal as an ‘expression of intent’ and ‘a somewhat labored process set up by the Maloofs as to how we would get to an agreement with the Sacramento purchase group’" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/10). Stern said, "If an ownership group has decided to exit our league, it doesn't retain the ultimate right to tell us where it's going to be located" (AP, 3/9).
FIND YOURSELF A CITY TO LIVE IN: The BEE's Bizjak, Lillis & Kasler in a front-page piece write the city of Sacramento “appears to have the sympathy” of Stern, but ultimately the decision will “have little to do with sympathy.” The city “must improve its offer for the team.” Mastrov said that he “wasn't troubled by Stern's assessment.” Still, sizing up the two cities “remains difficult.” For every point “in Sacramento's favor, there's one for Seattle” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/11). NBCSPORTS.com’s Aaron Bruski cited sources as saying that the “TV Homes per team metric is one of the reasons small-to-mid markets like Orlando, Sacramento, and Seattle are coveted by the league.” Other teams in the city “cut into the NBA’s TV viewership in Seattle." Sources said that the "same issue mitigates the advantage the Emerald City has in terms of potential sponsors.” A source added that it “didn’t make sense for the league to pit the ownership groups against one another," as the NBA "still wants to do business with both well into the future” (NBCSPORTS.com, 3/9). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said Stern wants the Kings' move to Seattle "to be part of his legacy,” but Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is "dogged and determined” to keep the team. Wilbon: “Why didn’t Seattle close the door and close the deal on this already? Sacramento keeps in there. KJ is in there, he’s agitating. He’s holding on to that team for his city. I totally admire him.” ESPN’s Bill Simmons said Seattle is “in the driver’s seat” to get a new NBA franchise (“Kia NBA Countdown,” ESPN, 3/8).
SLEEPLESS? In Seattle, Drew DeSilver noted hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who is leading the bid to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, disclosed that his Valiant Capital Partners fund had “a net loss" of 7.44% in Q3 '12. Hansen in a letter to investors wrote “investing, not basketball, is and has always been” his passion (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/10).