SBJ/May 30 - June 6, 2011/Franchises

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  • Kings stay put for now, see ticket sales climb

    The Sacramento Kings have sold nearly 2,000 new season tickets since team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof announced on May 2 their plan for the franchise to stay in Sacramento for at least one more season.

    In addition, the team has sold 26 new corporate partnerships and has a season-ticket renewal rate of 80 percent behind a new “beHEARD” marketing campaign rolled out on May 13 to help push sales. The Kings also have sold most of the 30 suites at Power Balance Pavilion, adding around 15 new suite deals since the end of the season, though team executives did not disclose the specific number of suites sold.

    Since early May, six to nine NBA marketing officials have been entrenched in Sacramento, guiding the team’s business operations as the Kings began their season-ticket renewal effort months behind other teams.

    The league’s executive staff in Sacramento is led by Chris Granger, executive vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA.

    To drive ticket sales, the Kings have hired 30 new employees since early May, but the team has yet to replace two key executive positions in Tom Hunt, senior vice president of corporate sales, and Mitch Germann, vice president of marketing and communications. Both left the organization in April.

    The Maloofs, who had a deal to move the team to Anaheim, have given city officials until March 1 of next year to develop a plan for a new arena. If a new arena deal is not reached, the team has vowed to file a relocation plan with the NBA.

    Granger did not disclose any revenue figures for the franchise. The Kings did not raise ticket prices for next season as they look to build more support after this season, which saw the team draw an average of 13,890 fans a game, second-lowest in the 30-team NBA.

    The “beHEARD” campaign includes a local print, radio, outdoor and television advertising buy. The Kings last season did only a limited outdoor buy to push the sale of season tickets.

    “The response from the fans and business community in Sacramento continues to exceed our expectations,” Granger said.

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