Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 4:10 pm

Report: Seattle has a new arena deal

Posted by Royce Young

If you build it, maybe the NBA will come. At least that's the first step in bringing an NBA team back to Seattle. It's not happening otherwise.

And after almost a decade of trying to get a new arena in Seattle, it looks like it finally might be happening, according to King 5 in Seattle:

A press conference is scheduled on Thursday to announce the framework of a new sports entertainment complex in Seattle SoDo neighborhood. KING 5 has learned Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen are still working to finalize a term sheet.  A high ranking county leader says right now, the deal includes substantial private financing, with some debt backed in some way by the City and County, repaid through admission fees and “arena generating revenue.”  

The final terms are expected to be hammered out Thursday morning, and some council members were expecting a briefing prior to the announcement, scheduled for 2 p.m. at City Hall.

Back in December, Hansen’s Valiant Partners of San Francisco reportedly purchased a three acre piece of property south of Safeco Field, for $21 million.

Once an arena is built, or even an official deal is in place, the focus will all turn squarely on getting a team. Because that's the whole idea here. They aren't building an arena just to have for concerts and WNBA games. The Kings are the obvious option are they're situation in Sacramento is very much up in the air. Which would be ironic that the city of Seattle would take away a team that another city is desperately trying to keep.

The other obvious option, which makes so much more sense, is to move the New Orleans Hornets to Seattle. First, the Hornets are in horrible shape in New Orleans. But second, with the NBA owning the Hornets, it would almost be a way for David Stern to extend an olive branch for being part of the group that allowed the Sonics to leave for Oklahoma City. This option probably isn't happening as Stern is looking for a local New Orleans buyer that will keep the team there, but still, that one makes a lot more sense than poaching the Kings.

But before the NBA even arrives, it could be an NHL team that finds its way to Seattle's new arena. CBSSports.com's Brian Stubits took a long look at Seattle as a hockey market and the conclusion is, it could work. Really well.

And having the potential for a full-time tenant could be almost as important as the arena itself. Because that makes the arena a valuable asset and makes it a worthwhile build. So really, the NHL might be the the path for the NBA returning to Seattle. How about that?
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:15 am

Kings arena-related measure passes city council

By Matt Moore

Sacramento has passed another marker on the path to keeping the Kings in Sacramento. The Sacrmento city council voted Tuesday night to allow city representatives to enter into discussions with local firms seeking to lease downtown parking. The money made from those agreements is necessary for efforts to build a new arena in Sacramento, which in turn is requisite to keeping the Kings in town as part of Mayor Kevin Johnson's proposal to the NBA. 

Once the leases are in place to provide up to half of the $387 million necessary for funding the new arena, the Sacramento Bee outlines the rest of the process in their post on the vote Tuesday:  
City staff is in tense negotiations with representatives from the National Basketball Association, the Kings, arena operator AEG and the arena development team to round out the facility's financing plan. Those talks are expected to continue for at least another two weeks, as the city works to create a financing "term sheet" for the arena by the end of the month.

The council would then be asked on Feb. 28 to approve that term sheet in a vote that could determine whether the Kings remain in town.
via Council votes to enter talks with 11 firms seeking to lease downtown parking - Sacramento Sports - Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee.

It's a small step, a tiny one, but it is a significant junction of money made available if the agreements can be met with the local firms. Kings fans aren't out of the woods yet, but they do have momentum.  

Last year, Kings ownership attempted to move the team to Anaheim, California, but was blocked by a vote from the NBA Board of Governors after a weak proposal from the Maloofs and a strong presentation from Mayor Johnson. 
Posted on: February 5, 2012 7:42 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 3:46 pm

Officials in talks to bring NBA back to Seattle

By Matt Moore

When the Sonics left Seattle, it was regarded as one of all-time basketball tragedies. Not just because over 40 years of history was wiped away, but because the way it happened left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. And even though Oklahoma City has worked out pretty awesome as an NBA city, talk has persisted that Seattle needs a team back. Apparently some people in Seattle's mayor's office and a wealthy owner prospect are making good on that talk. The Seattle Times reports: 
A wealthy San Francisco hedge-fund manager and officials in the Seattle mayors office have been working behind the scenes for eight months to bring an NBA team back to the city as early as next fall and build a new arena, according to emails and documents that reveal a far more concerted effort than previously known.

A Dec. 13 agenda for a meeting between the parties shows they were talking about details such as a "Review of Basic Deal Structure," "Financing Issues," including "City Debt Capacity," and "Security for Public Financing."

The documents, released Friday to The Seattle Times under a public-disclosure request, also provide the first glimpse of how the largely unknown hedge-fund manager, 44-year-old Seattle native Christopher Hansen, approached the city about his desire to buy an NBA team and build an arena south of Safeco Field.
via Local News | Seattle sports-arena talks well under way, documents show | Seattle Times Newspaper.

So how would Seattle get a team? The Times  reports that Hansen could be targeting the sacraamento Kings, who are undergoing their own arena crisis, with a February 14th city council meeting effectively Judgment Day for the future of professional basketball in Sacramento. To date the Maloof family who owns the Kings have yet to indicate any interest in selling the Kings. 

The report comes as a surprise that discussions have already progressed to this point. Any arena discussions with Seattle have to ensure profitability for the city under a voter provision. Trying to put together an arena plan, acquire a team and relocate them by fall is extremely improbable, but not impossible. However, things would have to move at an accelerated pace.

The group is also looking at a hockey franchise, as our guys at Eye on Hockey detailed.
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: May 16, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 10:45 am

How Kohl's political retirement affects Bucks

Posted by Matt Moore

Last week Bucks owner Senator Robert Kohl announced he would not seek another term in 2012.  Immediately, Bucks fans turned their attentions to what this means for the future of the Bucks with Kohl no longer taking in political income. Kohl was pretty clear on Friday about his intentions to remain in the ownership group and move forward as the Bucks try and find a new arena deal. 
On Friday, Kohl said he would continue to own the Bucks. "I feel good about my run as owner of the team," he said.

As Kohl well knows, the Bucks operate in one of the smallest markets in the National Basketball Association and plays in an aging arena that limits the amount of revenue the team can generate. Kohl has said for years that he loses money each year on the franchise, but he has never specifically cited a figure.

"I'm fully expecting we will continue to be here," Kohl said of the Bucks. "That in the years to come, we will find a way as a community and as a state to build a modern complex. And that in generations to come, the Bucks will continue to be a part of the landscape in Milwaukee."
via Kohl now can focus on Bucks' future - JSOnline.

Kohl has maintained for years that he would only sell to a group that was committed to keeping the team in Wisconsin. But with Kohl 76 and the Bucks one of the  more prominent money bleeds in the league, without a new arena deal it'll be difficult for Kohl to maintain his control over what happens to the Bucks past his ownership. On the flip side, however, Kohl's free time could mean he is more able to commit to working to solve problems both in the arena and basketball departments. The Bucks' slide backwards this season took the wind out of the momentum they had created last season. The only way a new arena happens is if public interest spikes.

Kohl's certainly saying the things you want to hear as a Bucks fan. But this is a period of change, and that can also lead to transition. The future of the Bucks isn't certain until new ownership and a new arena are in place. Kohl's role in the CBA negotiations centered around revenue sharing this summer could be significant.
Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:47 am
Edited on: May 2, 2011 12:28 pm

Kings staying, won't file for relocation

Posted by Royce Young

There they stayed. The Kings aren't moving. At least for now.

According to numerous outlets, the Kings have ended their relocation bid to Anaheim and will remain in Sacramento, at least for another year.

The Maloofs, in a press release said:
Out of respect to Kings fans and the regional business community, we have decided to remain in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season. The fans’ spirit and energy, specifically our season ticket holders, has been remarkable and we are truly thankful for their loyalty. We also are greatly appreciative of the support from our corporate sponsors as well as other local businesses that have come forward in recent weeks.

Additionally, we would like to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt thank you to the loyal and hardworking team members within our organization. From the game night staff to the front office, coaches, and players, we are grateful for their professionalism and devotion.
Also, the release thanked Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson but also mentioned the ominous future for the city as well. "However, if an arena plan cannot be finalized in a timely fashion, the NBA¹s relocation committee has assured Maloof Sports and Entertainment that it will support an application to move the franchise to another market starting in 2012-13."


It really shouldn't come as a huge surprise as the NBA had recommended the team stay in Sacramento to go along with about 50 other signs and reasons the Kings should remain in town. Of course that didn't stop the Maloofs from pursuing every available option to continue the relocation process. But in the end, without the league's support and a sketchy plan, they decided to withdraw.

Good move. Er, I guess good non-move. You know what I mean.

Still, at the heart of this is the arena. While the Kings bought themselves another year in Sacramento, the franchise needs to move ground (literally or at the least figuratively) on a new arena otherwise we'll be watching this same scenario unfold next year. The interesting part then will be if Sacramento still doesn't make progress and the team seeks relocation, is Anaheim the choice? Something tells me no because of all the blowback there was from that.

(This would be a pretty good time to start building your own new arena, Seattle. That is, if you want a new team.)

I don't know enough about the current situation in Sacremento to say whether or not a new arena is likely, but obviously that's the issue going forward. Get that built and the team is there for at least another 20 years. Don't, and this whole thing will come back and the NBA might not be willing to step in next time. The threat of relocation is real and the Maloofs are serious. No business owner wants to lose money. That's not the point of owning a business. So if things don't progress, they'll look at their options.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 5:51 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 6:02 pm

Maloof brothers are really getting desperate now

Posted by Royce Young

Despite an incredible grassroots effort from the city of Sacramento and even a recommendation from the NBA that the Kings remain in California's capital at least one more season, the Maloof brothers are determined to press on with their proposed move to Anaheim.

As dumb as the move may be -- that's a discussion for a later time -- the Maloofs are pulling out all the stops. Including trying to muzzle Laker coach Phil Jackson. Seriously.

Last week Jackson was asked by reporters about the Los Angeles Dodgers' situation where Major League Baseball assumed control of the franchise from owner Frank McCourt. And Jackson used it as an opportunity to zing the Maloofs.
"Oh, man. I think it's the same thing with the Maloofs in Sacramento, a similar situation there. I can see where the league had to step in and monitor that. It's unfortunate for our fans here. Hopefully, the Dodgers will recover."
Laker owner Jerry Buss has already made it clear he's opposed to the Kings relocating to Anaheim, for obvious reasons (read: money). And with Buss's position clear, Jackson has become sort of a de facto spokesperson for the Laker organization in matters pertaining to the Kings. But the Maloofs didn't appreciate the mud slung by Jackson, so what did they do? They lawyered up!

Via the Orange County Register:

The owners of the Sacramento Kings sent a representative to Brea Friday morning in an attempt to gather proof of what they perceived to be negative comments by Lakers coach Phil Jackson about their proposed move to Anaheim.

Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, showed up at my house to try to persuade me to give her a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings' efforts to relocate. Mackaness said the Kings' owners planned to turn over the tape to the NBA and Lakers in an effort to stop Jackson from making further comments.

However, the Register declined to turn over the tape. As a matter of policy, the Register does not release unpublished material gathered in the reporting of stories.

Oh. Good. Grief.

(Two things: 1) Geez Maloofs, tattle much? And 2) Why do they need the actual tape anyway. Do they think the Register made up the quote? Couldn't they just pick up that days issue or use the handy little "print" button on that story? I don't get it. Then again, I don't get any of this story.)

(Oh and a third thing I just thought of: So the Maloofs want Phil Jackson censored. Is that how I'm understanding this? They don't want him allowed to talk about this matter anymore? Are they really suggesting Jackson doesn't have the right to free speech when it comes to the Kings' relocation? Just checking.)

Jackson has just made the points we all see. (Well, even excluding three specific brothers.) It's stupid to put another team 45 miles away from the Clippers and Lakers. The Lakers hate the move because they could lose as much as $500 million in TV money form Time Warner if the Kings move. The Kings won't have a fanbase there. There's nothing that says they can make money there. The league isn't in full support. Other owners aren't in full support. This list seriously goes on and on and on.

Hammering it home even better than I, Jackson told SI.com this last week:
"I don't see any community, I don't care if it's Bombay with 25 million (people), being able to support three teams (in the same market)," Jackson said. "I know Istanbul does it with three soccer teams, and England does it in London with three soccer teams in the surrounding area, but it makes it very difficult in our community and our television area to do that kind of a thing. It will hurt all the franchises."
No word on if the Maloofs sent their attorney to SI to try and seize their website.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com