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Kings move update: Anaheim may float bonds to upgrade arena

Mar 19, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT


When the Maloof brothers asked the other NBA owners for more time to declare whether or not they were moving the Sacramento Kings this off-season, it was obviously to give them time to finish negotiations on the many facets of the deal still needing to be done.

Like getting upgrades to the Honda Center in Anaheim approved. That now may happen, according to the Sacramento Bee (via SB Nation).

The Honda Center has the luxury boxes and some of the amenities the Maloofs want to help drive revenue. But it also is still an 18-year-old building. The locker rooms would need to be upgraded and a new practice facility would need to be built for the team.

On April 12, the Anaheim City Council will vote on whether or not to float bonds to pay for those upgrades. That would be one day before the Kings season ends, and just six days ahead of the Maloofs April 18 deadline to inform the NBA of its plans.

The city of Anaheim owns the Honda Center, but Anaheim Ducks’ owner Henry Samueli manages it. He also is rumored to be giving the Maloofs a $100 million loan to facilitate this move, something the Maloofs have denied.

Moving is going to be expensive — there is $30 million league relocation fee, plus a $70 million outstanding loan from Sacramento — so a number of things still have to come together for the Kings to pull this off. It could fall apart.

But the momentum is there. It’s more likely to happen than not. And with a television contract that could be four times what the Kings got in Sacramento, and with a new building with more luxury boxes and revenue streams, they think the short term pain is worth the long term gain.

Well, at least until the lockout kills that momentum in the community and the Maloofs find that the people of Orange County only come out when the team is winning.

  1. purdueman - Mar 19, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    I find it more than just a tad bit telling that the city of Anaheim looks like it will be willing to step up when the city of Sacramento (in the same economically distressed State), can’t offer anything more than an old cow bell along with an old VHS tape filled with “Vlade Flop” highlights. Once again, Kings fans shouldn’t be pissed off at the Maloofs’; they should be pissed off at their local city officials!

    Unlike the Podunk Sacramento local officials, the city of Anaheim local officials are astute enough to realize that the projected tax revenues that would result from booking the Honda Center 81 more dates a year (including increased occupancy rates at local hotels, restaurants, etc.), should make approving the bonds a no-brainer.

    As for the gamble that the attendance will be there even for an initially bad team? It’s going to be MUCH easier to attract a big name free agent to Southern California than it would have been to attract one to Sacramento, that’s for darned sure!

    • aqzi - Mar 19, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      Agreed. Also I find it interesting to compare this to Bennett’s move from Seattle a couple years back. Like you said, don’t blame the Maloofs, I’m sure they would love to stay in Sacramento–it’s just not financially sustainable.

      As for the government officials, I’m not as sure that all of the blame goes to them. I believe we wouldn’t be having so many franchises moving and the labor negotiations conflict if the financial structure of the NBA wasn’t so messed up. I think the government officials in Sacramento could have helped the team stay in their city for a couple more years, but in a league where only 8 or so teams make money every year, there’s not much the government can do.

      • purdueman - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        You make an excellent point (i.e., the NBA’s messed up finances). In fact, the most viable alternative to the Maloof’s moving the Kings to Anaheim to become the Royals (try saying that 5 times real fast!), is to simply fold the franchise (as I’m sure that Stern will push to do with the NBA league owned New Orleans Hornets and likely at least another 3 teams during the upcoming union negotiations).

        The NFL is the only major sport that has the right concept when it comes to labor, and that’s that in order to collect on your contract you have to actually make the cut each year. Meanwhile over in the NBA you see completely useless stiffs like Eddy Curry getting paid $12.5M/year just to stay away from the team, and then to add insult to injury his “dead expiring” contract actually becomes more valuable than getting any players back in return via trade due to the NBA’s totally goofy trade rules (i.e., requiring the matchup of contract values being exchanged).

        MLB has gotten their act together somewhat with the growing movement of teams buying out arbitration eligible years for their rising stars in return for their stars being willing to commit to sign up for more years after they would have otherwise become eligible for free agency. It’s still not as good as what the NFL has in place (as there are still of course misses that saddle teams with big guaranteed deals just as in the NBA), but it’s still alot better than what the NBA has in place currently.

        I think that the logo (Jerry West), though is spot on when he said a few weeks ago that he thinks the the league would be much stronger and better off if 6-8 teams were contracted, but that’s not going to happen because of all the litigation that would follow from municipalities that are holding long term leases needed to finance the debt on their arenas that would suddenly be faced with losing 81 booked dates (or more), a season.

        Due to division based scheduling, baseball has become a Regional sport (not a national sport anymore, as has been evidenced by recent dismal World Series TV ratings). What the NBA is quickly now migrating towards is becoming strictly a big TV market sport, as filling up 18,000 seat arenas in big cities is almost a foregone conclusion (yes, even the horribly managed Clippers manage to pretty much fill up the Staples Center in LA).

  2. dolphinatic - Mar 19, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Great…Now LA fans have to worry about the artists formerly known as the kings eating our trash and getting our dogs pregnant. GET OFF MY LAWN!!. Wanna be’s.

  3. SmackSaw - Mar 20, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Last month the Lakers signed a 20 year agreement with Time Warner to start a new sports channel. That leaves Fox Sports in L.A. without an NBA team. The Clippers are with Prime Ticket. The Kings move is all about TV revenue and 83 corporate boxes at the Honda Center.

    Seattle lost the Sonics because of the same reason Sacramento will lose the Kings. Old, undersized building and low corporate interest. Las Vegas doesn’t have a building.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why they’re moving.

    • purdueman - Mar 20, 2011 at 5:49 PM

      Very nicely put, SmackSaw! My wifes’ company owns one of the corporate suites (not just boxes), at the Honda Center and won’t even blink at paying the added annual cost for 81 NBA games. The minute that the Kings, er ah, I mean Royals sign their new lease with the Honda Center, 75% or more of the corporate seats will have been sold. It’s a no-brainer leaving that obsolete cow barn in Sacramento, even without the huge TV contract considerations.

      If I’m the Maloof’s, I now target getting Blake Griffin to leave the Clippers for Anaheim in 2012. Of course I’m sure that the Lakers will target him too, because Kobe’s not getting any younger and the Lakers will be looking for their next marque draw in order to keep hosing their fans with their outrageously high ticket prices for good seats (I’m sure that Jack Nicholson could care less what he pays for his court side seat, but he’s not going to want to pay those prices just to see a 16-65 team led by the next Baron Davis).

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