Area Businesses Commit More Than $10M To Keep Kings In Sacramento
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, local business leaders and Kings fans "have done all they could in the past few months to prevent" the team from relocating to Anaheim, and the "final and perhaps most critical step came Tuesday, when the corporate community handed NBA representatives deposits on more than $10 million in sponsorship pledges for the Kings to stay at least another year," according to Antonio Gonzalez of the AP. NBA Exec VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations Chris Granger was "among those from the league who met with Johnson and some 30 business leaders at Golden 1 Credit Union in Sacramento." The NBA relocation committee, headed by Thunder Chair Clay Bennett, "will issue a final report to Commissioner David Stern later this week." Kings Owners the Maloofs "have until Monday to file a relocation request to the league." The "primary reason the Maloofs have explored relocation -- several failed efforts to build a new arena in Sacramento -- won't be answered by the deadline." A feasibility study for a new arena "isn't scheduled to be completed until the end of May" (AP, 4/26). In California, Brian Joseph noted the NBA officials were on hand to "investigate Sacramento's corporate commitments." Sacramento business leaders yesterday "signed their deposits," though Johnson said that he "didn't know the total amount." Johnson said the NBA has told him, "You guys have done everything you need to do up until this point, we just need the deposits" (OCREGISTER.com, 4/26). Johnson yesterday released a list of 32 companies that "have pledged $10 million in total in new corporate sponsorship dollars" for the '11-12 season (SACBEE.com, 4/26).
CIVIC COMMITMENT: The AP's Gonzalez reported "four California lawmakers, including the leader of the state Senate, sent a letter to Stern on Tuesday pledging to work with local leaders over the next year to try to build a sports and performing arts complex to replace" Power Balance Pavilion. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said that he would "use his clout to make sure his district gets its share of state bond money that could go to build the complex" (AP, 4/26). Meanwhile, in California, Eric Carpenter reported the Sacramento group "collecting signatures to force a public election that could keep the Sacramento NBA franchise from moving to Anaheim said Tuesday that it will only submit those signatures if Kings' owners file for relocation." Committee to Save the Kings co-Leader Rod Stutzman: "We have more than 11,000 signatures in hand and we are 100 percent confident that enough are valid (to trigger) an election. But we will only file those if the Maloofs file for relocation. If they don't file, we don't want to waste taxpayer money on a referendum that would be moot" (OCREGISTER.com, 4/26).
PUTTING UP A FIGHT: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes, "It's not the market, it's the ownership. That's crystal clear now as the greater Sacramento community has rallied to show it can support the Kings despite strong uncertainty surrounding the Kings ownership. ... Raising this money in this economic climate -- and with the Kings poised to move -- is no joke. Even if Johnson's effort yielded only $5 million in real pledges for luxury suites and sponsorship deals, it would still be an amazing accomplishment given that the Kings owners want out of Sacramento" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/27). Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears said Johnson has "done a great deal to get" the Kings back to Sacramento, but Anaheim "has dropped the ball." Spears: "They didn't have the TV contract together. The arena situation is shoddy. I heard they walked in there and the NBA just laughed at them, truly laughed at them" ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 4/26).