Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announces arena deal

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Rose. (Getty Images)
Kevin Johnson says he has an arena deal in place. (Getty Images)

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced Saturday that he has a deal.

Via his Twitter account, Johnson announced that a deal is in place to build a new arena in Sacramento with the Kings as tenants.

"It's a great day in Sacramento!!!!!" Johnson wrote. "I'm pleased to announce an agreement w/ Burkle-Mastrov-Ranadive group on a public-private partnership to build a new ESC at DT Plaza Mall. Consistent w/our core tenets, the deal avoids new taxes, protects the City on the Kings loan, and ensures no net impact to the general fund. For a comparable investment to the 2012 deal, we've secured more private investment & greater econ development potential at the new site. The new ownership, historic in its reflection of our city's diversity, will invest up to $1B in Sac - a strong sign of confidence in our mkt.

"They will also make a 35-year commitment to keep the Sacramento Kings right here where they belong!" he continued. "Once again, we're proving the strength of our market -- both as host to an NBA team, but as an emerging region with global potential. I'm excited to talk further about the deal with my Council colleagues and the public."

The investment group is led by billionaire Ron Burkle, 24-Hour Fitness owner Mark Mastrov and Vivek Ranadive, who is the chairman of TIBCO as well as a minority owner of the Warriors.

As for details of the deal, the Sacramento Bee has more:

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced the city has reached an agreement on a $448 million deal with a private investment group to build an arena at the Downtown Plaza site. The city will put $258 million in value into the deal, mainly by bonding against its downtown parking garage future revenues, and by selling several downtown parcels to developers. The development team will put $190 million into the deal. That team is made of up investment billionaire Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, and Vivek Ranadive, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

The preliminary term sheet, agreed upon this afternoon after weeks of negotiations, is non-binding, however. It must be approved by the City Council, a vote that is set for Tuesday night. It is contingent as well on the Maloof family accepting a bid from the investment group to buy the Sacramento Kings.

Many left the Kings future in Sacramento for dead when a group from Seattle made a bid to buy the franchise that was accepted by the Maloofs. But behind Johnson's bulldog approach and local investors stepping up, the team now has a solid chance to remain in Sacramento.

The Seattle group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, agreed to purchase the franchise in January from the Maloofs for a reported $525 million. The NBA said a Sacramento group would be given the opportunity to match. Two weeks ago, David Stern said the Sacramento group needed to up its offer to merit consideration, to which they apparently now have, after as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported, adding the extra financial muscle of Ranadive.

A meeting is set for the NBA Board of Governors April 18 and 19 in New York where on the docket is approval of the Seattle group's bid as well as their application for relocation. Johnson, who will also be in attendance, has said that the NBA has assured him their position will be fairly considered as well.

“I've been assured by the commissioner of the NBA that we will be given full consideration,” he said.

So, what does it all mean? It means that the biggest hurdle appears to have been jumped for Sacramento. The entire motive for selling or moving the team has been because of the city's inability to reach a new arena deal.

However, the bid from Seattle has been accepted by the Maloofs, meaning Johnson and the Sacramento group have to persuade the NBA to overrule that. And with a competitive bid on the table and an arena deal in place, the city of Sacramento has done just about all it can reasonbly do at this point. At least in terms of meeting the requests of the league, which like Johnson said, has given assurances that Sacramento is still getting consideration.

This thing isn't over, for either side, but score one for Sacramento. A very good day for the future of the Kings to remain there.

 
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