SBD/June 3, 2013/Franchises

NBA Imposes Deadlines On Kings Owners; Downtown Plaza's Opening Mandated By '17

Ranadive's ownership group expects to bring a tech-savvy feel to the Kings
NBA Commissioner David Stern on Friday revealed that the Kings' ownership group led by Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive "must meet 'a series of benchmarks' for a new arena -- or risk losing the Kings to another city," according Kasler, Bizjak & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Stern, speaking hours after Ranadive's group officially completed its purchase of the team from former Owners the Maloofs, said that the NBA "has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team's sale to new owners." He added that league owners "insisted on the doomsday option 'in the unlikely event' Sacramento can't get the arena project rolling in a 'reasonable' amount of time." The NBA is "insisting that the building at Downtown Plaza open no later than 2017." The Ranadive group "expects to open" a $448M arena at Downtown Plaza "in time for the 2016-17 season." The Maloof Sports & Entertainment signs by midday Friday "had all but disappeared from Sleep Train Arena." Stern said of Ranadive: "I think he's going to be good; I think he's going to be very good." He added that the Kings "have already secured renewals from 70 percent of their season-ticket holders."

KINGDOM COME: Former Kings co-Owner George Maloof revealed that the family "entertained offers" for the team not just from the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, but also from a "group seeking to move the team to Las Vegas and a buyer who promised to keep the team in Sacramento." He added that his family was "taken aback by the effort mounted" by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Ranadive group. Maloof: "We were all surprised. I didn't think there was a buyer (to keep the team in Sacramento). They should be commended; the mayor should be commended." With the sale "now finalized, the Seattle group has surrendered its toehold on the Kings." Court documents indicated that Hansen is "canceling" the purchase of a 7% stake in the team, which is now "being purchased by Ranadive." Ranadive is "paying the same amount Hansen was -- $15.1 million" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/1).

TECH SAVVY: The SACRAMENTO BEE's Dale Kasler wrote the city of Sacramento's "long and often difficult quest to build a major high-tech industry could get a burst of energy from a most unlikely source" in the Kings' new owners, who "represent some of the stars of the state's tech sector." What the group's "tech orientation means for Sacramento is uncertain." Kings co-Owner and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said that given the team's new owners, a tech company "likely would purchase the naming rights for the new arena." He said, "I have a bunch of friends I'm talking to about the naming rights." He added that Qualcomm is "an unlikely candidate for naming rights; it would create a possible conflict of interest for him" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/2). KSYP-AM's Darren Wolfson reported former T'Wolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn is a "safe bet to be involved with the new Sacramento ownership group." He likely will "be a part of the planning process for the new arena." Kahn recently has been "spending time" with Johnson (1500ESPN.com, 5/30).
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