SBD/December 26, 2013/Franchises

NBA Kings Have Donated More Than $1M To Charities Under New Ownership Group

Kings players visited children in local hospitals for the holidays

NBA Kings officials said that the club has “donated more than $1 million to local charities and organizations” since Vivek Ranadive’s ownership group took control six months ago, according to team officials cited in a front-page piece by Ryan Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The franchise “conducted a holiday-themed campaign called ‘The 12 Days of Giving Big’ that benefited 60 local organizations and featured toy drives and Kings players visiting children in hospitals” and also has donated 10% of season-ticket proceeds generated through Oct. 10 to "more than two dozen local organizations.” The gifts from that effort “totaled more than $400,000.” NBA franchises have “a long-standing track record of donating to community causes around the world," but Lillis notes the Kings’ “largesse carries an added dimension.” Political consultants said that the Kings’ philanthropy “makes sense from a public relations perspective,” given that a plan calling for the city of Sacramento to contribute $258M to a “new downtown arena for the team faces a possible public vote next year.” Arena critic Craig Powell said, “Let’s not kid ourselves. This is not disinterested charitable giving. These are tactical donations meant to improve their political position in the community.” Nonprofit leaders indicated they are "hopeful the new Kings ownership group will help fill a much-needed void” in a city that "lacks Fortune 500 companies and has a relatively small roster of ultra-wealthy families." Sacramento Region Community Foundation Marketing Dir Shirlee Tully said that the Kings “have not donated to the regional foundation, but that the organization ‘would absolutely work with them’ to support causes with the greatest need, including senior care, environmental work and arts groups.” Lillis notes in contrast to the previous owners, Ranadive’s group has “engaged significantly with the city’s main arts organizations” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 12/26).

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