Virginia Beach Drops Bid For Kings

HANG TIME WEST – Making official what had been obvious all along, leaders in Virginia Beach, Va., said Tuesday they had no hope of luring the Kings this year and at least temporarily ended the attempt to get the team to relocate from Sacramento.

Mayor Will Sessoms told the Virginian-Pilot that “The city is kind of withdrawing…” and “The city doesn’t see a clear opportunity at this point and as such it’s not something we’re aggressively going after.” He told the Sacramento Bee that “This just ain’t gonna work at this point in time.”

What Sessoms apparently did not tell anyone but should have: “We didn’t ever have anything close to a concrete deal to offer the Kings. We wanted a firm commitment from them when we could not offer the same in return.”

It was questionable whether the Kings would have jumped coasts even under the best of circumstances – Virginia Beach would have been a small market with no recent history of major-league sports, no local ownership, and looking to energize a fan base long-term with a team that has been rowing in circles for years. Under these circumstances, though, it was the equivalent of trying to buy a house without any idea of how much the bank was willing to lend.

The deal called for the city to contribute $241 million, the state to add $150 million, and another $35 million in corporate backing from Comcast-Spectacor. One small problem: Virginia wasn’t in for the $150 million. Gov. Bob McDonnell said in December he would not request the funding in his 2013 budget.

Virginia Beach officials dismissed that setback and said they could re-apply for the money when the state General Assembly reconvenes, but that never happened. Local government leaders say they needed a commitment from the Kings to move forward – the team was never specifically named, but the identity was no secret – while the Kings understandably would not sign on without knowing all the specifics. They already had buyer’s remorse on a deal with Sacramento and the NBA to stay in California and backed out after agreeing to a new arena plan in their current home, so they weren’t going to go far down this road with so many unknowns.

In truth, the team’s owners, the Maloof family, were never emotionally invested in Virginia Beach as much as listening to offers in the never-ending search for a solution to the stalemate in Sacramento. It was the Maloofs’ idea to not have the Kings identified as the potential tenant, a silly game that played out while Team X was named in reports most every step of the way. Virginia Beach officials were disappointed in the insistence on secrecy on a secret that didn’t exist, knowing that making the idea of the NBA in town more tangible could have generated important enthusiasm.

The Virginia Beach offer that included a new 18,500-seat arena and $80 million for the Maloofs to offset relocation costs had the credibility boost of backing from Comcast-Spectacor, but was too much a swiss cheese of an offer. In the end, Sessoms said he called off the chase because of time demands at the state level to have any hope of securing the $150 million for Some Mysterious Team to apply for relocation before the NBA’s March 1 deadline.

It was true in the logistical sense, but also a fine bit of political spinning by the mayor to say the city is suspending efforts when the inability of local government to arrange financing was a major holdup. The other being that the Maloofs may never have wanted to go there anyway, but, either way, they had no way of making a decision without knowing the full details of the deal.

Tuesday’s announcement only means Virginia Beach is backing off for now. It can try again in the future, when the Kings will likely still be in a state of uncertainty with signs stronger than ever after this development that the team will be in the same place next season despite the lack of progress on a Sacramento arena.

28 Comments

  1. van says:

    Kings to Vancouver

  2. […] Just yesterday, civic leaders in Virginia Beach, Va., who had hoped of luring the Kings this year ended that cause. […]

  3. mack says:

    some place in VA

  4. Rumor today has it that the Maloofs coughted up the team for $500MM to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, ,and they would be here (in Seattle) in green and gold after this season. Hope it is true.

  5. Peter, from the Netherlands says:

    Besides, the Kings have already a history around the US: in Rochester, Cincinnati, Kansas City(-Omaha) and Sacramento.

    Think, what a rivalry it would be… Seattle vs. OKC…

  6. Peter, from the Netherlands says:

    It’s weird. The Kings, along with Boston and New York, the only team that’s in the NBA from its early beginning in the BAA (est. 1946). When they will move to Seattle (which I do sincerely hope!) what’s going to happen with their history? Leave it all behind and form a construction like the OKC Thunder did when they left Seattle? I’d say, leave the Sonics history in Seattle and do not rename the Kings into the SuperSonics. The colour scheme can be adapted from the SuperSonics.
    Maybe the Kings could, in honor of the City of Seattle, retire the jersey of Gary Payton (and mabye even Kemp). Remember, the Heat have retired the jersey #23 in honor of one named Michael Jordan.
    (I hope you don’t mind my bad English…)

  7. Najee says:

    They should eitha move to Seattle and become the new SuperSonics or to Las Vegas because it has a big market that could lure superstars in the future. The Las Vegas Kings sounds ok. Damn, I wish custom teams were still in the video games.

  8. how about the New Mexcio Kings?

  9. @ HAWKS-New England-mmm-Boston-Ahh sure ,why not & make it like La w/ 2 in one house-LMAO-Naahhh-we’re GREENALLDAY-plus Boston doesn’t tend to copy others, they tend to attempt to copy us in franchises history-8 rings in a row never to be dupped!!!
    GREENALLDAY18BANNER18’sACOMIN”13

  10. Chris says:

    If/ when Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer purchase the Kings from the Maloofs, they will be named the Sonics again and they will likely get their history back through some agreement with Clay Bennett hopefully. They will leave the Kings name and history in Sactown. I feel bad for the Kings fans though because they had the best fans.

  11. Tarzan Boy says:

    How about ‘St. Louis Kings’?

  12. HAWKS says:

    I say seattle or kansas city or somewhere in NEW ENGLAND

  13. Rocket33 says:

    Here are some things (that will never happen) that would make the league better in my opinion. The Seattle Supersonics need to be back in the NBA again with all the past team history belonging to them. The Payton and Kemp days were awesome and the DJ led championship.

    The Charlotte Bobcats need to be the Hornets. Can they buy this off New Orleans? Utah should give New Orleans the Jazz nickname to save us all from any possibility of them being called the Pelicans. If not then the Saints is the only sensible thing I’ve heard so far.

    And Sacramento need to stay put as the Kings. Right, just need about 10000 people to agree with me and we can buy them off the Maloofs.

    • wadefan says:

      with 10000 people you would each need to put forward 50k.. good luck finding that many people willing to spend that much money on a team that is going nowhere but out of town..

  14. Nick says:

    This was obvious from the start, why anyone took Virgina Beach seriously is amusing to me? Seattle has had a team, why would a team consider it again – so soon. Seattle needs to get on with supporting its current franchises and wait for awhile to pursue pro basketball again. Louisville on the other hand is in the mecca of basketball country, with a triangle of college sports all time greats, U of L, UK, and Indiana. Louisville has had pro ball before and is poised for it again, it is the only logical choice.

  15. MavsLackofDefense says:

    Nashville is like Memphis..super tiny market..

  16. solo14sy says:

    Seattle is getting the Sonics back as soon as they build the arena there that just got recently approved. I live in the Hampton Roads/VA Beach area and the Kings are wasting their time coming here from a financial standpoint. It would be nice to have a team here don’t get me wrong, just to say we have one. Problem is, the market is too small to survive with any major league professional sport (NBA, MLB, NFL, or NHL) and the Governor isn’t going to contribute much to the development of it at all. Building an 18,500 seat arena doesn’t mean its going to consistently be filled.The interstate traffic problems here in this area will pose a huge problem with people being able to get to the games on a consistent basis. Too many road stops, tunnel backups, and etc. With your top name free agents jumping to bigger markets, a team that doesn’t win games and is stuck at mediocrity won’t make money. It’ll end up being Sacramento all over again if not worse because the State of California has far better financial backing than Virginia. Overall, with the state of the situation as it presently stands in this area I don’t see how it will work!

  17. bobby says:

    Nashville, Tennessee?

  18. the answer says:

    north dakota

  19. derickrosefan1 says:

    They should come to montreal canada needs more team

  20. rico says:

    I want. The kings to be in Virginia beach or Norfolk. That will be a good idea

  21. TDawg says:

    When will the NBA step in and save the Maloofs from their endless ignorance and business ineptness? The true victims in this whole mess are the fans in Sacramento. What was once arguably the very best fan base in the NBA is now a fragile skeleton of how things used to be.

    No doubt Seattle deserves a team. But not at the expense on Sacramento who will undoubtedly return in full force once the Maloof brothers are no longer in the picture.

  22. john says:

    alabama kings

  23. Sea Pea says:

    Seattle Kings. King County….it only makes sense. What are the Kings waiting for. Unless Las Vegas is in play Seattle is the only logical solution.