Tag:Kevin Johnson
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:02 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:24 pm

Reports: Sacramento, Kings agree to 'framework'

Looks like they were right. They are staying. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The Kings have taken a significant step towards remaining in Sacramento for the foreseeable future, with team and city agreeing to the "framework" of a stadium financing proposal, according to multiple reports.

SI.com and NBA.com reported that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloof family, who owns the Kings, told reporters in Orlando that stadium funding is on track.

"It's game over, so our community should be really excited," Johnson said, according to SI.com. "I want to jump up and down."

Johnson added, according to NBA.com: "I’m very excited. It’s a new day for Sacramento. We’ve all been working around the clock to get to this point."
Negotiations that involved the NBA league office, the City of Sacramento and the Maloofs took place throughout All-Star Weekend.

During his annual All-Star Weekend address on Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern said that a deal was close but that money still separated the two sides and that "several remaining [deal] points" need to be hammered out.

"Life is a negotiation," Stern said on Saturday. ""The City would like the Maloofs to make the largest ‑‑ both have come up with very substantial contributions.  It's really getting there.  It's just not there yet.  And we're looking for other ways, imaginative ways, to bridge the gap ... It's coming down to money after all of this?  Yeah."

SI.com reports that the Maloof family will put up $73 million towards the $387 million expected price tag and an additional $60 million could follow in future years.

SacTownRoyalty.com reports the next steps in the arena funding process include a City Council vote and approval of a plan to create stadium funding from parking structures.

The Maloofs attempted to relocate to Anaheim last season but the NBA actively encouraged the family to reconsider and give Sacramento another year. Johnson has been pushing hard to keep the Kings throughout the process. The city of Seattle has also been interested in landing a team.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 2:48 am
Edited on: October 15, 2011 3:00 am

Mayors write letter urging NBA labor compromise

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

Mayors are usually only good for riding in the back of convertibles during parades, promising to lower taxes and lock up sex offenders, and dramatically cutting ribbon with oversized scissors, so it came as a pleasant surprise this week when a group of them decided to nudge their way into the ongoing NBA lockout.

WISHTV.com reports that 14 mayors from NBA cities addressed a joint letter to commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter requesting that the two sides work to salvage a season and to end the lockout as quickly as possible.

The letter can be read here. The following is an excerpt.
Unfortunately, lost in the debate over a new NBA collective bargaining agreement, has been the perspective of those very residents and the negative impact a cancelled season might have on them, our cities and our local economies.

We know the issues being discussed between NBA owners and players are complex and need to be addressed to ensure the long-term wellbeing of the league. We are not interested in taking a side. The United States Conference of Mayors has always maintained impartiality in major leagues sports negotiations.

Rather, we respectfully ask that you consider the consequences to our cities should the lockout continue. We ask that you work quickly to find a way to compromise so that we might salvage the upcoming NBA season. 
As WISHTV.com notes, the letter is written without taking a side in the dispute. The goal is compromise for both sides, not victory for one or the other. Among the undersigned include Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an All-Star guard for the Phoenix Suns in the 1990s, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, an All-Star guard for the Pistons in the 1960s and 1970s.

The big question here is whether this letter will influence the negotiations. The answer is no, not at all, but at least they tried.

On Monday, Stern announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the league's regular season. Previously, he cancelled the entire preseason schedule and postponed the start of training camp. Stern said Thursday that if a deal cannot be reached by Tuesday, Oct. 10, that the league's annual Christmas Day games could be in jeopardy.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:51 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:53 pm

Sacramento city council votes on arena research

By Matt Moore

The city council of Sacramento, California voted Tuesday night in suport of $550,000 to be put towards research to formulate an arena proposal for Sacramento that would keep the Kings in town.  The council voted 7-2, for a variety of reasons, as outlined at ProBasketballTalk.com. The vote represents a big step forward for Sacramento keeping hold of the Kings. The NBA has given the city until March 1, 2012 to formulate a plan or Anaheim's going to have a new professional basketball team. 

The research funding is just one step towards the creation of the $387 million project being proposed by the city. On Tuesday, arena juggernaut AEG expressed interest in assisting the project.  AEG, which owns and operates both Staples Center and Kansas City's Sprint Center among others. The supporting vote coupled with AEG's interest certainly points towards everything going Kings fans' way. 

The next step will be the creation of a formal proposal towards the project. But even after that, the city will have to approve a world of money during an economic downturn for the team to stay.
Posted on: September 6, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:37 pm

Kevin Johnson's got a new plan to save the Kings

Posted by Royce Young

Sacramento bought itself a year with the Kings. After being on the brink of relocation, the Maloof brothers decided to hold out in Sacramento for another season and then explore options to move to Anaheim maybe in 2012.

But that's only if Sacramento doesn't step up. And according to Mayor Kevin Johnson, they will. Via the USA Today:

We think the worst-case scenario is 2015. If we can get the financing of all this stuff lined up as we think we can, before 2012, we've already got a design team, architects and contractors starting to work on real numbers, starting to think about schematics and renderings and all that.

It's going to an intermodal, which is very similar to Madison Square Garden (New York) and Boston, where you have a transportation hub connected to a venue that deals with green and transit-oriented development, all those "Smart" things. It goes back to us only having one team. Our market can probably support something that's 600,000 or 700,000 square feet and not something that's humongous, because we just don't have the market to do that. Our footprint will be a little bit smaller. That's why we think we can keep our cost under $400 million.

And don't think Johnson's only motive for saving the Kings is just basketball. Sure, he played in the NBA and loves the game, but it goes deeper than that, he says.

"We're talking about 4,000 jobs," he said. "3,700 of them being construction jobs. It's bigger than basketball. It's not just about the Kings. It's not just about these owners. It's really about job creation and quality of life for our community."

He's of course talking about the new arena that's necessary to keeping the team in town. Without it, they move. With it, it's likely they stay. It's really that simple. And that's where KJ's got a plan.
We've done our due diligence with experts looking at it. We're programming with the Maloofs, the NBA, all the interested parties. We're actually doing it very transparent so on Sept. 8 they'll see the options. … Then we'll take the next two or three months to solidify the financing model. We'll solidify some of the public financing options. We'll try to solidify the private equity side. The arena will be a publicly owned entity, and the Kings will be a tenant. We hope to be able to have the financial model and critical path laid out before the end of the year and not have to brush up against that deadline of March 2012.
The ball's in Sacramento's court, no pun intended. The city has a chance to keep the team, but it's going to have to step up in a big way. Which is scary because as Johnson points out, Sacto has lost a lot of jobs and it's economy is suffering a bit. But he contends that losing the Kings will only hurt that more. So it's worth the costs to keep the team.

It's a pretty interesting situation and while Sacramento celebrated in keeping the Kings another year, the threat of relocation is still on the table. It's just time to step up.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 10:14 pm

Can Sacramento Kings nickel-and-dime an arena?

Posted by Ben Gollivermaloofs

Who foots the bill for a new stadium when a team's owners are too poor or unwilling to pay and the city government lacks big amounts of available funds or the mandate to level heavy taxes? Well, either the taxpayers or a different city with greener pastures.

In Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Kings organization are trying to finance a new arena that will keep the team in Northern California. In order to prevent another relocation bid, Johnson and company have pulled out all the stops to find enough coins in their couch to keep the Maloof Family in town.

Their current solution? The Sacramento Bee reports the plan is to levy a series of surcharges on various activities related to the arena that will accumulate 

Surcharges on everything from tickets to hot dogs could raise as much as $20 million a year toward construction of a new downtown Sacramento sports arena, Mayor Kevin Johnson's task force said today.

The report, labeled "highly preliminary," outlines a broad range of fees that could be tacked on arena users. An "illustrative case study" shows that ticketbuyers could pay surcharges ranging from $1 to $3 apiece, for example.

The task force is trying to patch together a series of funding sources with the understanding that taxpayers would never agree to a general tax increase to fund the railyard arena.

"The burden will be spread...far and wide," said the task force's director, political strategist Chris Lehane.
Setting up a business district near the stadium and taking lease payments from the Kings would combine with the surcharges to complete the financial picture of the stadium. Give the task force credit for its effort: a piecemeal approach is the only real solution absent big money, and putting those pieces together is no easy task.

One obvious hurdle in this plan is that it requires people -- a lot of people -- to show up to the arena. A low-dollar surcharge isn't likely to keep people from attending games by itself, but the Kings were second-to-last in home attendance last season, at under 14,000 people per game. A new arena can spark interest in a bad team, for sure, but only sustained success will keep fans coming in a smaller market.

Expecting to gross $20 million in arena-related surcharges 14,000 people at a time sounds like a stretch. If we're only talking about 41 home games (and not concerts or other events), $20,000,000 total in surcharges would require each fan that attended each game to pay nearly $35 dollars in surcharges alone, a preposterous sum. If, instead, we say that a new arena could draw 20,000 fans and host 100 nights of entertainment a year, we're still talking about $10 per fan per event in surcharges to reach the goal.

That's a very, very difficult target to reach given that a night at an NBA game -- tickets, parking, concessions, memorabilia-- is already pretty pricey. And it would theoretically need to happen year after year after year until the stadium was paid off. Getting dinged like that would get real old, real quick.

That sounds a lot more like a fan tax than a surcharge. Certainly there are a few thousand die-hard season ticketholders who wouldn't blink at paying an extra $400+ per season to ensure the team gets a new arena and stays in town. But what about everyone else? This is a casual fan's league and we're not talking about casual sums of money.
Posted on: April 28, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 5:05 pm

Report: NBA recommends Kings stay in Sacramento

NBA officials have reportedly recommended to the Maloof family that the Sacramento Kings should not relocate to Anaheim. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Earlier this week, we noted that Sacramento-area businesses met with Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA officials to pledge millions of dollars to help keep the Kings in Northern California. The team's owners, the Maloofs, are considering relocating the team to Anaheim.

The Sacramento Bee reports on Thursday that NBA officials met with the Maloofs on Wednesday and recommended that the team remain in Sacramento.
The source said the Maloof family, which owns the team, held talks Wednesday with several top NBA officials, including members of the league's relocation committee. 
The Kings owners expressed appreciation for local businesses that have pledged $10 million in sponsorship support for next year, but also shared concerns about whether their finances can withstand several years of waiting for a new arena to be built, and whether Sacramento will be able to come up with an arena plan that is financially feasible, given past failures. NBA officials, in turn, told the Maloofs to stay in Sacramento.
The source said it appears unlikely at this point that team owners will come to a conclusion before Monday, the day set by NBA officials as the deadline for the team to request permission to relocate to Anaheim for next season.
The NBA league office is usually hands off when it comes the decisions of its individual franchises and this situation is extraordinary is multiple ways. The NBA has raised capital on behalf of its team without the team owners present. The NBA has established a strong relationship with a prominent local politician, a relationship that apparently doesn't exist between the owners and the politician. The NBA and that politician are now aligned against the owners' desire to relocate the franchise. SI.com also reports this week that the politician has met with a billionaire sports team owner who has interested in purchasing the Kings with no intention of relocating them.

In other words, the pressure in mounting rapidly on the Maloofs. If they decide to continue with their relocation effort, they'll now be doing so against the league's recommendation, a critical factor that will certainly be a matter of discussion when the NBA's relocation committee convenes to discuss the matter. Moving into a market with two other NBA teams was already a tricky proposition, but it made a certain amount of sense financially. It will be difficult for the Maloofs to argue their dollars-and-cents case if the NBA has stepped in and made significant capital-raising progress in such a short amount of time. 

The Maloofs now look like poor businessmen who didn't realize the opportunities available to them rather than solid businessmen who were stuck in a market that couldn't support an NBA team. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle but the clock is ticking and the Maloofs are losing leverage by the minute. 
Posted on: April 26, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 5:39 pm

Sacramento businesses pledge millions to Kings

Sacramento-area business reportedly pledged millions of dollars to keep the Kings from relocating. Posted by Ben Golliver. maloofs

There's no question that money talks in the NBA, especially when it comes to matters of relocation. A money-generating arena, sponsorship dollars, television deals and season ticket holder bases: these are the factors by which owners and the league evaluate markets.

Sacramento, a market that was thought to lose its team to Anaheim next season, reportedly received some great news on the money front on Tuesday, when Mayor Kevin Johnson met with NBA officials and local businesses to help demonstrate the community's financial support for keeping the Kings in Northern California.

The Sacramento Bee reports that, following the meeting, Johnson announced that millions of dollars in sponsorship money had been pledged with the goal of keeping the Kings in Sacramento through next season. 
The $10 million in business pledges aimed to show the NBA that Sacramento could financially support the team, and to convince the league to keep the Kings here rather than allowing them to move to Anaheim.
This morning, Johnson said, Sacramento businesses "made a down payment on the Sacramento Kings and this being their permanent home." Companies committing to support the team included Sleep Train, Golden One Credit Union, Zoom Imaging Solutions and Arden Fair Mall.
"We are for real and we are here to support the NBA and the Kings --not just for this year, but for many years to come," said Matt Mahood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.
The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, had taken steps to relocate the team to Anaheim and re-name it the Anaheim Royals. Now, suddenly, they are virtually invisible, with the NBA and local politicians essentially conducting their business for them.

These developments have led SacTownRoyalty.com to ask some big questions, such as: "Who is running the Sacramento Kings?"
Note the continued absence of the Maloof family in all of this. These sponsorships were pledged to the Sacramento Kings, owned and operated by the Maloofs, a member of the NBA. These businesses pledged this money because KJ told them that otherwise, the Kings would be gone. The NBA has the power to tell the Maloofs they must keep the Kings here in Sacramento, and to wield that power wants to ensure that KJ isn't selling wolf tickets. Again: it's a reasonable quest.
But collecting local sponsor money is usually a task left for the team. In fact, I cannot think of any instance in which the NBA would collect local sponsor money for a team that doesn't deal with an NBA takeover of a team (hello, New Orleans) and a situation where the local owners have become so poisonous that the NBA would rather take the time and bear the expense to basically do the owners' job for them.
The NBA should be commended for standing up for Kings fans and the Sacramento market, regardless of whether their actions are motivated in part by a skepticism towards the Maloofs, a desire to prevent an over-saturation of the Los Angeles market or other outside reasons. 

In such an unstable situation -- in the Sacramento market, its ownership group and in the league as a whole -- the less change, the better. That makes the hard money put up by Johnson and the Sacramento businesses that much more important and influential.
Posted on: April 21, 2011 3:04 pm

Kings' relocation train grinding to a halt?

League has serious reservations about Maloofs' relocation plan to Anaheim as relocation committee visits Sacramento to test Mayor Kevin Johnson's claims regarding market viability. Do the Kings stay?
Posted by Matt Moore

You'll have to forgive us for having jumped too early. It's just, it wasn't supposed to go like this. As in, it never goes like this. An NBA owner manages to avoid their small market poneying up for a new arena, and the door's supposed to magically swing open to relocation. After all, how can the owners vote against one of their brethren, knowing that if they are a large-market owner, continued strength in those areas is best for them, and if they are a small-market owner they would be setting a precedent to vote against their own bid later? Despite the bickering between franchises that goes on daily in the NBA, the owners stick together, right? 

Yeah, not so much, looks like. 

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated has the Sacramento beat down as well as anyone and he reports this week that momentum on that midnight train to Disney Land has hit some major breaks, thanks to questions from the NBA Board of Governors that have left the Maloofs facing a pretty depressing future: a possible, maybe probable return to Sacramento. 
The next two days are pivotal. Johnson will host relocation committee chairman and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and league counsel Harvey Benjamin in Sacramento and attempt to prove the case the mayor made so strongly at the NBAs Board of Governors meetings last week: that his city remains a viable market. On the other bench, sources say the Anaheim presentation given at the meetings was as ineffective as Johnsons was impactful, and there is serious doubt as to whether there will be enough support to warrant the Maloofs filing for relocation a majority vote is needed to approve a move when a team files.
via Strong indications Kings may be in Sacramento next year - Sam Amick - SI.com.

The big issue here? TV money, the golden calf of NBA financing. As opposed to NFL television rights, which are collective and shared throughout the league, each NBA team gets to negotiate its own TV deals. Which is why some teams, like the Lakers, are due for $5 billion over 25 years, and some teams make less than they're paying their third best player, like the Bobcats. The Kings' relocation to the lucrative SoCal market was supposed to suckle at that market that ensures the Lakers profit ridiculous amounts by winning and the Clippers make great money even by being the freaking Clippers. Instead, Amick reports a $20 million deal is all they have acquired in the Anaheim relocation package, through a minor network through a relationship with Samueli, the mastermind behind the bid to send the Kings to his Anaheim arena. $20 million is the league average, so the ownership was pretty much "eh" when faced with that number. 

Are these just concerns? Is there any real momentum to the move? This paragraph from Amick should read as a punch in the face of the Maloofs. 
There were internal signs that the league is taking Sacramento seriously this week. Two sources said an NBA representative called on Monday to advise the Kings' business team to prepare the season-ticket packages and corporate sponsorship plans that had been on hold since rumors of the move were legitimized in February. Team employees had been in a holding pattern for months, but they were told to be ready to deliver the goods to their customers in the coming weeks should a happy ending be on the horizon. There was similar movement in other areas of the organization, with the notion of a Kings return suddenly seeming somewhere between possible and probable.
So the league has advised the organization to start selling tickets in advance of a move against the wishes of ownership. Pardon us while we "LOL" for a little bit. 

The Maloofs thought this was going to be easy. They may get their way, get their Los Angeles Royals of Anaheim. But the city's not going down without a fight, and in this last round, it's Mayor Kevin Johnson who's landed all the punches. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com