New York, NY – The tussle between Sacramento and Seattle, two cities vying for the Kings, is heating up. Both sides made presentations to the NBA on Wednesday.
NBA commissioner David Stern, and select owners heard from both sides as they gather information to make a decision about the future location of the team.
Investor Chris Hansen, part of the Seattle group, spoke following the session as did King County executive Dow Constantine and Seattle mayor Mike McGinn.
Sacramento's group includes software businessman Vivek Ranadive, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, billionaire investor Ron Burkle and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs.
"We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction time lines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities," Stern said. "It was a long day without any breaks, and both sides made in my view very, very strong presentations."
The league may not make up its mind as to the future location of the Kings until after the Board of Governors meeting April 18-19.
"They're pushing us, and I guess all that we want to say about that is that we're doing it as fast as we collectively can together, and it made well slide past the board meeting, but I wouldn't expect it if it does to slide by a lot, because there's a combined interest in having some clarity come to this situation," Stern said.
The family of Kings co-owner George Maloof agreed in January to sell the team to the Seattle group, which includes Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. But the NBA said the deal needs league approval.
"We're optimistic," Hansen said. "The ownership group is very enthusiastic, and we appreciate the NBA has got a tough decision to make, and we're hopeful for an outcome in our favor."
Meanwhile, Sacramento city council recently voted in favor of a term sheet between the city and their investor group to allow the Kings to have a new arena in Downtown Sacramento.
"I feel like the owners are very clear on what Sacramento's ownership group is willing to do to keep this group in Sacramento, that's the first thing, playing to win," Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said. "And then secondly, George Maloof was in the room, and it was something that we all welcomed. I mean, this should be very transparent. They're the ones who have a franchise and have to ultimately make a decision on accepting a backup offer or another offer if Seattle doesn't pan out, and we were pleased to be able to share our story in front of them."
The total development cost for the Sacramento arena is an estimated $447 million, with a variety of city resources paying for $258 million of the total.
Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 campaign. The Sonics were an expansion franchise in 1967-68.
Stern said expansion of another franchise isn't in the cards to solve this issue.
"Right now expansion sort of on horseback, so to speak, is not a prudent way to run a league," Stern said. "Without knowing what you're selling, what the next TV deal is worth, what the full scope of international is, what our social media, digital rights, etc., to cut off a chunk of that and have an expansion is just imprudent on a quick decision. It doesn't mean that at some time in the future it isn't potentially on the table, but right now it's not."
The Kings, meanwhile, have been in numerous cities since their inception in 1948-49. They began as the Rochester Royals until 1956-57, then stopped in Cincinnati through 1971-72 before moving to the Midwest. They changed their name to the KC-Omaha Kings before becoming the Kansas City Kings in 1975-76, then moved to Sacramento for the start of the 1985-86 season.