Maloofs Say Original Arena Plan Was A "Bad Deal," But Kings Will Stay In Sacramento
NBA Kings Owners the Maloofs Friday killed an agreement between the team, the city of Sacramento and the NBA to build a new $391M arena, and Joe Maloof called the plan a "bad deal,” according to Ailene Voisin of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Maloof said, “The main thing was ... the projected revenues were too high. They were at 2005 levels, before the housing bubble burst and the economy went down.” Maloof said his family feels "like criminals, and we didn't do anything wrong." Maloof: "This was just the wrong time and this was the wrong deal. When the time is right, we'll do a deal. ... Nobody wanted to get an arena done more than we did. We've been talking about it for 13 years. Everyone just needs to calm down. We all need to cool off.” Voisin noted the fact that "a lot of people still suspect your plan is to spend next season in Sacramento and then file for relocation in March.” Maloof said, “That's not true, that's not true. I swear that is not going to happen. I don't care what rumors are out there. It's our team. We're not selling, and we're not leaving. Our identity is the Sacramento Kings. That's how we're known.” Maloof acknowledged that NBA Commissioner David Stern “is not happy with us” and that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson “has a different view, too.” He said, “We disagree. Some of those revenue projections aren’t feasible over 30 years” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/15).
LOSING SUPPORT: In Sacramento, Lillis & Bizjak in a front-page piece reported stunned fans “are contemplating whether to remain loyal to the franchise,” and political leaders “are lashing out at the Maloofs.” Corporate sponsors also “are taking stock of their support for the team.” Kings co-Owner George Maloof on Saturday “reiterated his stance that the deal was ill-conceived for both the team and the city,” and he once again “challenged Mayor Kevin Johnson's assertion that there had been a deal at all, pointing to a series of letters the team sent to the NBA expressing its concerns.” Maloof said that he now “feels undermined by the mayor.” He said, “You can't do a deal with somebody you don't trust. I don't trust him.” Maloof after meetings in N.Y. with Stern and Johnson on Friday suggested that the team and the city “instead look into renovating Power Balance Pavilion,” but he “backed off that idea” Saturday. Lillis & Bizjak noted some local corporate sponsors “who combined to spend $10 million on the Kings this season are assessing whether to continue that support.” With many corporate sponsorships “up for renewal for the 2012-13 season, representatives for some of those companies acknowledge that negative press aimed at the Kings will play a role in deciding future partnerships.” Western Health Advantage Chief Marketing & Brand Officer Rick Heron said, "If the fan support isn't there, that goes a big way toward the value of the partnership.” Jiffy Lube, which “paid for electronic billboards around the city last spring advertising the 'Here We Stay' campaign, is waiting to hear from the Maloofs before making a decision.” Jiffy Lube Marketing Dir for the Sacramento area Matt Graham said, "I'd like to hear how they're going to deal with the negative press and the backlash from the fans" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/15).
HE SAID, SHE SAID: In Sacramento, Kasler, Lillis & Bizjak noted Johnson “met privately with the Maloof brothers for more than two hours” on Friday only to leave the meeting “burdened with a dark conclusion.” Johnson said, “I wish I had better news. (The Maloofs) are now saying they don't want to do the deal, which essentially means they don't want to be in Sacramento." Stern said he was “extremely disappointed both for the Maloofs and the city of Sacramento." He added, “I know we've scheduled them into Power Balance Pavilion for next year. It just wouldn't pay for me to talk about anything beyond that." Johnson “quickly dismissed an idea” floated by George Maloof that the team and the city explore renovating Power Balance Pavilion. Stern said that the “team’s concerns were heard” and suggested that the Maloofs “became uncomfortable about the deal because they were worried about taking on more debt” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/14). The SACRAMENTO BEE’s Voisin wrote Stern can “scream and cajole and persuade the other owners to oppose a relocation, which he did.” And he can “entice power AEG into the partnership, which he did.” He can even “offer loans and guarantees and make the most recent proposal more appealing to the Kings co-owners, which he did.” Voisin: “But he can’t force the Maloofs to sell. And they’re not selling” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/14).