Developer Mark Friedman Introduced As New NBA Kings Bidder As Burkle Bows Out
Sacramento developer Mark Friedman, whose family "controls Arden Fair mall and other properties," yesterday agreed to join the city's bid to buy the NBA Kings and build a new downtown arena, according to Kasler, Lillis & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The development comes one day after Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle was forced to scale back his involvement on the bid. Friedman said that his announcement's timing was "coincidental" with the Burkle news. Friedman said that he will "invest in all three elements of the effort: team, arena and surrounding redevelopment at the struggling mall." Friedman did not disclose how much he is investing, but said, "I'm making a big bet" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/10). Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said that he has been "talking with Friedman since January and that the NBA was notified of the potential departure of Burkle and addition of Friedman when representatives of Seattle and Sacramento met before a select group of owners" last week in N.Y. Johnson: "We shared Mark's name (with the owners). They were very pleased." Meanwhile, a source said that Qualcomm Owner the Jacobs family has "agreed to increase" its participation in the project (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/10).
BLESSING IN DISGUISE? In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes Burkle taking his name out of the bid initially seemed "like a big setback," but it may be "an unforeseen blessing." Burkle is "known to be despised" by Kings Owner the Maloof family, and as Burkle "fades to the background, so does a major Maloof objection to any Sacramento bid." The Maloofs now "can't pull the 'disrespect card' that they have dropped around Sacramento at every turn for years" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/10). Meanwhile, in Seattle, Danny Westneat writes if desire "does matter," Seattle's bid is "toast." Westneat: "Because Sacramento totally wants this more." Sacramento's $447M arena plan was "unveiled to the public and then passed by their City Council only three days later." Westneat: "Can you imagine the reaction from the Seattle process factory if our mayor put forth a half-billion-dollar public-private partnership and wanted it approved in just three days?" One thing "we know from bitter experience is the NBA cartel likes its host cities a little desperate." Westneat: "Easier to leverage more subsidies that way. Advantage: Sacramento" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/10).