Chris Hansen Suggests He May Not Have Pursued NBA Kings Bid In Hindsight
Former NBA Kings bidder Chris Hansen said if his consortium had known going into its purchase agreement with former team Owner the Maloofs that there would be such strong support within the league to keep the franchise in Sacramento, "we probably would have approached this differently, if at all." Hansen, appearing on KJR-AM's "Softy Mahler Show," said his group "gave a hell of a presentation" to the NBA BOG, and "really showed the NBA and the owners that Seattle is without a doubt the best available market and better than probably at least half the markets they have right now in the league." Hansen: "We really thought that the Kings were going to be leaving Sacramento, that it was really a matter of where and I think to a certain extent the NBA probably felt that was the case too." He said moving forward, his group is "not going to be going to another city as a predator and trying to wrestle a team away." Hansen: "I don't think that (NBA Commissioner) David Stern has it out for Seattle. I think that's an important message. This was more about keeping the Kings in Sacramento and not having another team relocate that historically has a good fanbase than it was about sticking it to Seattle again. That's a fact" ("Softy Mahler Show," KJR-AM, 5/28). Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive said the NBA's decision was really "about keeping the Kings in Sacramento." He said he is "very passionate about sports" and when Sacramento Mayor Johnson "asked me to help keep the team in Sacramento, I thought that I had to do something. I came to California with nothing and I had to do everything to help keep the team and I'm very, very happy that we succeeded" ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 5/29).
BUILT FOR A KING: In Sacramento, Arns & van der Meer report the Kings, despite "obstacles and risks," will "move quickly" to build a $447M sports and entertainment center once the NBA formally approves the team’s sale, likely by month’s end. The project, financed in part with $258M in public money, is "expected to include retail, residential, office and other components that many hope will revitalize Sacramento’s stagnant downtown." The question is whether the city can "leverage the new arena into real, tangible economic growth." But economists speculate that if done correctly, Sacramento's arena project could "completely change the city over the next decade" (SACRAMENTO BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/24 issue). Also in Sacramento, Bizjak & Lillis in a front-page piece report local group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork is "launching an underdog campaign of its own" to challenge the team's plan to build a new arena. The group "took steps this week to launch a petition drive for a public vote on the arena financing plan." The group's "network of backers is small, relying on Facebook messages and fundraising drives in a midtown garden to generate support and money." The group "aims to force the city to schedule a special election" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/31).