On Tuesday night, the Anaheim City Council approved a bond that would facilitate the move of the Sacramento Kings to the city. The pressing question on everyone's mind is whether Southern California can support the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers and a relocated Kings team that is rumored to be named the Anaheim Royals.
ESPNLA.com reports that Anaheim's mayor, Tom Tait, says that he is confident the region's population demographics will support a third NBA team.
"I'm confident that an NBA team in Orange County will do very well," Tait said. "In terms of the potential fan base, we have more than 3 million people in Orange County alone. Add the Inland Empire and San Diego, and you have millions more. We are all part of the Southern California region, but Los Angeles and Orange County are far apart. Anyone who lives here knows that. We will fill the stands of the Honda Center when the NBA comes to town, believe me."Meanwhile, City Council Member Kris Murray not only said she was looking forward to coming up with "some creative way to replace the cowbell," she also eagerly opened up the "smack talk" with nearby Los Angeles.
"If I can start the smack talk a little bit early, the traffic models these days show that more folks commute from L.A. to Orange County than vice versa," Murray said. "So L.A. is our biggest suburb, and we are going to have a tremendous number of fans fill that arena."For the Maloof family, this relocation boils down to: "the grass in greener on the other side." It's too bad the people tending the nicer yard are already being jerky about it. Comments like Murray's remind everyone who doesn't live in California why they're so happy they don't live in California.
Anyway, by comparison, the greater Sacramento area is just over 2 million people, so if the Kings are to claim Orange County as their own, there's no question that they are upgrading in market size and potential fanbase. Plus, local government enthusiasm are clearly present in Anaheim. For the Kings, it probably feels really nice to be wanted.
The big struggle for the franchise will be putting a winning product on the court in the relatively short term to build on that momentum and to keep that customer base engaged. Everybody likes something new; nobody likes a loser.