There was that fateful series against the Lakers when, but for a fortuitous bounce of the ball and a clutch three in game four and a foul-filled game 7 that we later found out was due to a referee intentionally throwing the game, the Kings might have won the Western Conference and ultimately the NBA Championship.
The Sacramento Bee yesterday had a small entry talking about a meeting between dozens of elected officials and business groups in an effort to keep the Kings in town.
Wrote the Bee, “While no specific role was laid out, the regional leaders agreed the City of Sacramento should not be alone in the fight.”
Bringing this issue a bit closer to home, there is a regional draw to the Kings and there would be an economic hit to the region if the city lost the Kings.
According to the Bee, West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon called the Kings, “one of the region’s most important assets.”
What is also interesting is that there is a signature drive, near completion in Anaheim, that would place a referendum on the ballot to delay that city’s decision to issue bonds aimed at luring the Kings.
Officials estimate that they already have enough signatures to qualify. They need about 8000 and will end up with over 10,000.
Wrote the Bee, “Once the signatures are collected, they will be turned in to the Anaheim city clerk for validation, perhaps as early as Monday. If they are determined valid, Stutzman said a vote will be forced to allow the $75 million bond package to be issued.”
Normally this move would be a slam dunk, but the NBA is probably not so keen about putting a third NBA franchise in the Los Angeles area. The Clippers are the clear second franchise to the dominant Lakers, and the idea of two weaker sisters does not make a lot of sense.
News 10 in Sacramento reported last night that “an NBA representative has already advised the Kings’ business office to prepare season-ticket packages and corporate sponsorships for next season in Sacramento, as efforts were previously halted, with the uncertain future of the franchise.”
According to that report, “The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, is facing enough opposition from other NBA owners who may prevent them from moving to Anaheim, forcing the Maloofs to remain in Sacramento.”
Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA Star with the Phoenix Suns, will be meeting with league officials to prove to the league that Sacramento remains a viable market for the NBA.
Meanwhile, Anaheim’s presentation last week was reported to be ineffective while Mayor Kevin Johnson’s was impactful.
Getting back to local issues, one of the questions is whether there should be a county or regional tax to support keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
Wrote Matt Rexroad last night on his Facebook status, “Everyone in the region wants to keep the Kings in Sacramento. While I want the Kings to remain in Sacramento, I am opposed to a tax increase on Yolo County residents to build an entertainment venue. A facility like that should be built with fees charged to the people that use the facility.”
He suggests the use of revenue bonds to front the money.
Others have suggested that we have far more important issues before us. And perhaps that is true. But one of the key questions is always economic development.
How much money does a sports franchise add to a region? There was an interesting special on the impact that the Oklahoma Thunder’s arrival from Seattle meant to that community, that they were able to produce enough revenue to completely revitalize their downtown.
I do not often agree with Mr. Saylor, but if indeed we would bring in nearly 5000 new jobs to construct a new arena, and those are the type of projects that you live for in economic hardships because they are well-paying construction jobs, I think you have to at least examine the possibilities.
Of course, if the City of Sacramento is calling on the region to help, then they need to be willing to consider some sort of revenue sharing as well.
A lot of people may not care about this issue due to a lack of interest in sports, but think about the impact on the local economy. One small example was going to sports bars when the Kings were a good team and the places were packed on game nights, particularly in the playoffs.
You cannot ignore the loss to local businesses that losing the area’s only professional franchise would create. I do not think the public will be flocking to the Graduate to watch the Warriors play if the Kings move – at least not for awhile.
—David M. Greenwald reporting