Sad Sac Kings
I was barely an adult the first time I ventured into ARCO Arena. I had hooked up with a photographer who got me a press credential, and from afar I had admired the facility. At the time, ARCO was only 7 years old. The exterior had a nondescript Wal-Mart look and there was nothing in the immediate vicinity. The interior was remarkably white, whether you were looking at walls or people.
The visitors’ locker room was no larger than a typical elementary school classroom. Press accommodations were decent, and the spread was better than the one at the Coliseum Arena. My seat was in the designated auxiliary press row, a separate “balcony” above the lower level seats and suites. It was an exhibition game between the Kings and Warriors, so I didn’t expect many of the other people with assigned seats to show. I was somewhat disappointed by that, since former Warriors coach Al Attles was supposed to be sitting in the seat next to mine.
Enough reminiscing. If you have fond memories of ARCO, as I do, you might want to treasure them because the future is not bright in Natomas. Vultures are circling around the Kings and the Maloofs. And the arena, whose naming rights deal with ARCO expires soon, will be renamed Power Balance Pavilion, after an Australian company which makes energy balance bracelets that have not been proven to provide energy, power, balance, or pavilions. The deal may be worth as much as $1 million per year, a sum that seems a bit puzzling considering the company’s measly $35 million in annual revenue. Then again, the team and the Maloofs may not be around long enough to see if Power Balance actually makes more than one payment, or becomes the next Pro Player.
An Orange County Register article tries to calculate the cost of relocating the Kings to Anaheim, where coincidentally, they’d be the second team named Kings in SoCal and have the same color scheme to boot.
But is Anaheim a realistic destination? There are several obstacles that could complicate or preclude such a move.
It has been widely reported the Maloofs have $69 million left on a loan with the city of Sacramento and reportedly have taken out $125 million in loans from the NBA in recent years.
There’s also a standard $30 million relocation fee that must be paid to the NBA if a franchise moves. And there will be territorial rights fees owed to the Lakers and Clippers (estimated between $30 million and $50 million to each team) for invading the Southern California market they share.
So that’s a $69 million loan/lien plus the $30 million relocation fee and $40 million in territorial rights fees. Total: $139 million, which is close to the $150 million payoff to the Warriors for the Hornets to come to San Jose. Then there’s the $125 million in loans from the NBA, which may or may not have to be dealt with. Jinkies. Nice to see it broken down, though the existence of the Kings’ loan as a component makes it appear that $150 million is a rather inflated price tag for Lacob-Guber to go away (NBA debt notwithstanding). There’s probably some assumed debt for the Hornets that would have to be addressed at some point, which could make the final price tag similar. Or does the equation change when a new owner is involved? Looks like the rich soaking the rich.