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SBD/September 24, 2013/Franchises
The Big Executive? Shaq Buys Stake In Kings, With Sacramento Arena Vote In The Balance
Published September 24, 2013
CELEBRITY PULL: USA TODAY's Amick writes, "In this pop culture-crazed day and age, when athletes and fans alike are so easily impressed by all the endless glitz and glamour, this might be the best public-relations ploy going in the NBA." NBA players "attach added credibility to said franchise when they add high-profile friends." Fans who "wouldn't have otherwise given said team the time of day take notice." While the percentage of O'Neal's investment is not known, it "hardly even matters." These "minority moves, by and large, seem to have the desired effect." The Nets "became the talk of the hoops world" when they added Jay Z as a minority partner, while the Grizzlies last year added Broncos QB Peyton Manning and singer Justin Timberlake as minority owners. The addition of O'Neal will "surely help the Kings' battered image in much the same way after their unwelcome distinction as the worst franchise around" (USA TODAY, 9/24). But in Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes O'Neal is "facing a hung jury in the court of public opinion." One segment of Kings fans is "delighted with his arrival and all his oversized baggage." But others "will never recover" from the '02 Lakers-Kings Western Conference Finals, when O'Neal "renamed the Kings the Queens." He also "chided the beloved Vlade Divac for flopping" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/24).
NEW VISION: O'Neal and Ranadive appeared together on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning, with O'Neal saying the new vision for the team is "Sacramento 3.0" and becoming more of a "global brand." Ranadive noted the organization has gone "from last place to first place in new ticket sales in a matter of weeks," and the "same is true on a number of different business fronts and I've always believed in surrounding myself with people way smarter than me." Ranadive: "We're putting together a dream team of investors and executives to really build a 21st century franchise … and while we believe it's a process, the turnaround will come and it will come soon." Ranadive said the new arena is "going to pay off big time." Ranadive said of the new arena, "We're going to create this iconic structure and it is going to completely change the way that people look at this part of the country" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 9/24).
SALVOS FIRED AT THE WORLDWIDE LEADER: The Kings have launched ads responding to ESPN The Magazine naming them the worst franchise in pro sports. The magazine's "Franchise Issue" ranks the Kings No. 122, and features the ranking on the mag's cover. The Kings' ads read, "Hey ESPN... Nice Airball." The tagline is featured on the team's homepage, with an image of the magazine cover and a call to action for fans to purchase tickets to the Kings' Nov. 15 home game against the Pistons, to be nationally televised on ESPN. The Kings are promoting the game as an "ESPN welcome party" (THE DAILY).