Sacramento Approves Arena Deal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The comeback bid to keep the Kings cleared another benchmark Tuesday as the city council approved a deal with private investors to build a downtown arena as a centerpiece of hopes to convince NBA owners to vote down the sale and relocation of the only major-league franchise in town.

The outcome, by a 7-2 margin at a City Hall meeting with several hundred people in attendance in the council chamber and an overflow area, had been expected. Once the predictable became official, Sacramento had the final major piece to present to the league at an April 3 meeting in New York: a deep-pocket ownership group and agreement on a $448-million dollar arena.

A group from Seattle has a purchase agreement with the current Kings owners, the Maloof family, with the intention of moving the team to Washington state next season, probably as the second coming of the SuperSonics. Sacramento, trying to close the deficit on the proactive and organized Seattle effort ever since being caught flat-footed with news the Maloofs were close to selling, has put together a package that local leaders believe shows the city will continue to support the NBA at a high level. The choice between two attractive bids will be made when the Board of Governors gathers April 18-19 in New York.

“We’ve done our part,” an energized Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said afterward. “What we did today by making a 7-2 vote, our audience was the Sacramento community, A, because we protected the tax payer and stayed true to our core tenant. Our other audience were NBA owners. They ultimately are the ones who make the decision. We didn’t want a 5-4 vote. We didn’t want a 6-3 vote. We wanted a minimum 7-2 vote because that would send a very strong message that this community is going to do whatever it takes, elected and otherwise, to build a brand new arena downtown. That’s our competitive advantage. That’s certainty. It is in their hands right now …

“The NBA has never, ever in the history of the NBA – it would be unprecedented to rip a team out from a city who’ve done everything that was expected of them. We’ve done everything possible. They need to know that you cannot take our team away from us. We did our part and we did it in a responsible way, and I’m really proud of our community.”

This is the second time in as many seasons the Sacramento city council has approved a non-binding arena deal. The nine-member body voted in favor in 2012, shortly after league executives brokered a compromise between Johnson and the Maloofs at All-Star weekend in Orlando, only to have the owners back out in a shocking development. The proposed arena in the 2013 plan is in a different location than before, though very close to the 2012 agreement.

Johnson said he e-mailed commissioner David Stern from the dais immediately after the 7-2 vote.

22 Comments

  1. UpYours says:

    Seattle is a lame place to go watch any game in person…….I hope the Kings stay in Sac Town…….

  2. it says:

    Sacramento would not be smart to spend money on the NBA and not on the real issues in Sac town. They are just going to dig a deeper hole for the city to have to climb out of. I think the mayor should start putting his energy towards making the city a better place. I bet you only 30% of the people in Sacramento would agree with spending this money on a new arena. Don’t get me wrong I love the Kings and I was raised going to there games, but Sacramento has some real issues they should take care of before this arena.

  3. James says:

    We the people don’t want to take the Kings from Sacramento. But we did make a bid for the team. The NBA owners will vote on it on the 17th &18th of April. Then when they become the Seattle Sonic’s. Then you guys will have a bitter taste in your mouths. So go ahead and say all the nasty things about Seattle, but that still wont bring the team back.

  4. john says:

    to sum up your comment: you’re a douche.

    got it.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised the organization WANTS to stay in a tiny town like Sacramento. I’m not sure how a city like that has a professional team. I think there are several other cities that are capitals of states (like the small town of Harrisburg PA) that have way more going on than Sacramento does.

    448 million dollars? Does California have money to even spend a fraction of that?

    Again. Sacramento blows, it’s the only city in that entire state of California that no one wants to admit they live in when you meet them in another place. Why live there when you could go to San Diego, LA, or outside of San Francisco? I’ve been to Sacramento (too many times) and I honestly wonder where they’ll put the arena in such a small downtown area, too. It’s kind of interesting. I guarantee the team will sell to Seattle. The only reason Sacramento is holding onto the kings so hard is because they have nothing else going on there. Even their “river life” is shameful. The list of top 15 river cities in the country doesn’t include Sacramento.

    Finally, I’d like to point out how some people are saying no NBA team has ever been uprooted from their city… What about the Hornets?? – Boom, gotcha there.

  6. Germi Zeigler says:

    i do miss the sonics!

  7. John Lowden says:

    GO JIMMER GO……..GO JIMMER GO…….GO JIMMER GO…….(I mean stay with the team, but play harder and harder)

  8. John Lowden says:

    Why can’t the Kings remain in Sacramento and Seattle start them an expansion team there ? Or does it take too long for an expansion team to be competitive?

  9. Chuy says:

    SAC – RA – MEN – TO ! !

  10. Alex says:

    What about the maloofs? Has anyone heard from them lately?!
    What’s their opinion on all of this?
    I mean, if they prefer to sell the Seattle group, does all of this even matter?
    and if the league blocks the relocation?… can they force the maloofs to sell to the local group?

    • Nerd says:

      The Magoofs are not allowed to talk. And yes, the NBA can block the sale and they can also force the Magoofs to sell the team locally. The NBA owns them pratically.

  11. Rafael says:

    Hey NBA, keep the Kings in Sacramento where they belong!!! #HereWeStay

  12. Anhtonysam says:

    Congratulations to the city of Sacramento! You worked very hard with very little time. You deserve this!

  13. What a great news! Hope the kings stay in Sacramento for quite some time

  14. I am surprised there are no naysayers posting here… they probably will be. You are right on as usual. I haven’t been to a Kings game in a decade, but I still recognize the value of a major league team to the City of Sacramento. If the NBA approves keeping the Kings in Sacramento, as I hope they will, much of the downtown area near the Arena at Downtown Plaza will be completed revitalized. K Street has been dead as a door nail for several decades. Not only that, Investors with the kind of money they have available to invest in the Kings and an Arena, won’t be knocking on Sacramento’s door anymore if the team moves to Seattle. I believe the NBA will grant an expansion franchise to Seattle… either that or an existing franchise will decide to move there. Keep up the good work.

  15. Eat It Seattle says:

    Seattle fans, EAT IT!! You can say whatever you want, but in the end, the Kings will stay where they belong, PERIOD!! And whatever you have say… hmm… well, whatever. Just EAT IT!!!!! Thanks.

    • Squatch says:

      Enjoy this moment of false hope. Search your feelings Kings fans, do you seriously think it would have gone this far if a backroom handshake wasn’t already made?? Kudos to KJ in starting his campaign for re-election early but the deal that has been created to keep that team pales in comparison to the Seattle group’s deal. It’s already over…you just don’t know it yet. :-)

  16. Zdr says:

    I would love to see the Kings stay in Sac and develop as a perennial contending team as they were before. For so many years now, Sac had always been screwed by whatever means and positive change is really due for them right now.

    Not a Kings fan here but I hope Sac would not be screwed this time around.

  17. Rafael says:

    I’M SO PROUD OF SACRAMENTO AND MAYOR KEVIN JOHNSON!!! THIS NEW ARENA WILL REVITALIZE SACRAMENTO AND HAVING THIS AWESOME NEW OWNERSHIP GROUP FULLY COMMITTED TO SACRAMENTO WILL REGAIN THE TRUST OF KINGS FANS!!!

    #HEREWESTAY