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.

37 thoughts on “Sad Sac Kings

  1. Is Sacramento any kind of darkhorse for the A’s at all? If they loose the Kings and the City and the residents are willing to put some public money up for a stadium, is it even within the realm of possibility? I think Sac would like to remain a pro sports town – a lot of civic pride on the line.

  2. Mark, I’d say that anywhere that was willing to pay for a stadium was a dark horse. The problem is, Sacramento isn’t willing to pay for an area for the team it has, why would anyone expect them to pay for a baseball stadium?

  3. Also, they have the Rivercats already.

  4. If Samueli is willing to pay the Relocation and Territorial fees for the Kings then they would be dumb not to move to Anaheim.

    San Jose has not offered anything of the sort to the Kings and like Anaheim the Maloofs did not like the offer SVSE offered back in 2009. Although SVSE did offer to renovate the HP Pavilion in a rev-share agreement.

    The Maloofs are bleeding $$ in Sacramento with a bad team. I agree with ML that $150 M would be ridiculous to move the team to San Jose or anywhere else. That # is closer to 100M total (Relocation fees + Territorial rights fees)

    Therefore to pay off two teams (Lakers and Clippers) should cost more than just one team (Warriors) in theory.

    The Maloofs tried so hard in Sacramento it is over now and they need to move by 2012-2013. They have 1 season left in Sac and barring a miracle they are long gone…

  5. Can’t understand why the Kings would look to Orange County and compete with two other teams, one of which happens to be the dynastic Lakers, when they could come to San Jose and only compete with the sad sack Warriors. Anybody see Orange County NBA fans switching allegiances from the Lakers to the Kings? Didn’t think so. In San Jose, the Kings could theoretically hold onto fans willing to drive 90 miles to San Jose on weekends.

    FWIW, San Jose’s arena is in a major city and probably seats a few more people than Anaheim’s, which can’t even sell out the building for the hockey team it already has.

  6. pjk, the reason they’d look to the OC is because they have not team there. And frankly while the Lakers do have fans in Orange County, they’re not exactly pulling huge numbers of fans from there or the IE. A team in Anaheim would be much more likely to pulling fans from points south and east perhaps as far as San Diego (I can attest that it takes about as long to drive from San Diego to Anaheim as it does from San Jose to Oakland despite the longer distance depending on traffic). If New York can support 2 MLB, 2 NBA, 3 NHL, 2 NFL then LA can support 2 MLB, 2 NBA, 2 NHL, and 0 NFL…

  7. I meant 3 NBA in my LA list.

  8. I was just in Anaheim, drove there on a Sunday afternoon from Echo Park. Not only are the Lakers a huge exception to the anti-Angeleno attitude of Orange County, but Honda Center is really not that far removed from Staples. The Southland already has a franchise picking up the scraps down there. I’m not advocating an SJ move instead, just saying that Anaheim looks like a stupid idea.

    Oh, and the team would absolutely have to change their name and colors.

  9. Didn’t the Clippers have a longstanding invitation to move to Anaheim? They never took it. Wonder why. I think I recall it taking about two hours to drive from San Diego to Anaheim; San Jose-Oakland is 30 minutes without traffic.

    FWIW, it’s questionable whether the New York area is really “supporting” all those teams. The Isles, Devils, Nets have been box office duds for decades. All three teams have come up in relocation talks – remember the Devils almost moving to Nasville in ’95? The Isles to KC?

  10. Nah SD to Anaheim without traffic is maybe an 80 minute drive if you don’t drive like granny. And the Clippers did have an invite but they made it clear they don’t want to move.

  11. The Clippers never moved to Anaheim because Donald Sterling’s friends all live in Malibu and it would be too far for them to drive to see them in Anaheim. Since Sterling views the team as his personal plaything rather than a moneymaker, in LA they stay.

  12. Anaheim and San Diego are 80-90 minutes apart on a decent day. I used to live in Newport Beach/Irvine in college and I made that trip several times for weekend fun with the homies.

    Staples Center and Honda Center are only 31.7 miles apart and it seems farther because I-5 barrels into 3 lanes North bound once you leave Orange County and into LA County. There isn’t any space to expand the freeway or they would have years ago.

    While the Oracle Arena and HP Pavilion are 39.6 miles apart but have a much better freeway (I-880 is 4 lanes each side) connecting the two. Even though they are further apart, traffic in the Bay Area is not nearly as bad as LA as traffic only hits during peak hours.

    In essence do the Kings want to share a market with 2 others team only 31.7 miles away or share it with one team that is 39.6 miles away in a more flush corporate market?

    Anaheim is the center of OC but the corporate base in that area is no where near Silicon Valley and there is zero public transportation options to the Honda Center outside of buses. While HSR, BART, Light Rail, and Cal Train will all go through Diridon in the next decade.

    This plus as pjk states the Kings can retain part of their central valley fan base as traffic goes the other way in the evening on I-580 and I-680 (except near the south bound Capitol Expressway exit if re-done there would be zero traffic going to Downtown that way).

    I am not the Maloofs but I would say objectively speaking go to San Jose since the LA area has 2 teams already…Of course as I stated before the LA area in general can support 3 teams. The Bay Area is a 2 team max for NBA.

  13. if anyone wants evidence of how easy it is to get between the Bay Area’s two arenas, the Globetrotters will play in San Jose at 1 pm on Saturday and later that evening they will play in Oakland. This is besides the point, but a second NBA team in the Bay Area is a no-brainer while a 3rd one in the LA area is a head-scratcher.

  14. pjk, your argument seems to prove the opposite is true. If getting from SJ to Oakland was so easy, we wouldn’t be discussing an A’s move in the first place.

  15. And if anything his argument would support moving a third team to LA. It takes nearly 2 hours at rush hour to get from Honda Center to the Staples Center in downtown LA (I know because I did this exact commute the other day). It takes about half that to get from HP Pavilion to Oracle. OC fans can’t easily get to most Lakers games despite the mileage proximity. (I won’t discuss the Clips because no one goes to their games).

  16. @ Dan: Coco Crisp is a huge Clippers fan. He tweets about it constantly. As A’s fans, it’s nice to know he’s aware of what’s it’s like to be fans of a region’s second team.

  17. If no one goes to Clippers games, why put in a 3rd team, then? (Actually the Lakers get about 2,000 more per game than the Clippers.)

  18. Because the third team would be servicing an entirely different area that isn’t readily able to go to Clippers or Lakers games. Frankly the Clippers never should have been allowed to move into Staples but there you are…

  19. 3 anchor tenants in Staples. I don’t know what they will do if the Lakers, Kings and Clippers all need the place for a playoff game on the same day. (Here’s some trivia: The Clippers used to be the Buffalo Braves.)

  20. LA Kings hockey, I mean, not the now-Sacto Kings.

  21. I’m curious if the Maloofs would ever sell the team to say , LE? Of course, depending on the franchise value, he may opt for NE instead, but would provide him some traction to move the team to the Bay Area (if that’s his true intention) and keep the Hornets in NE as the MLB supposedly wants.

  22. pjk, they’d never all need playoff games at the same time. (and not just because the Clippers will never make the playoffs). They can schedule around each other quite easily.

  23. If the Kings relocate to LA, to avoid confusion with the NHL team, they should be rebranded as the Kangs. It’s gotta good sound to it.

  24. The three Staples inhabitants have all co-existed peacefully for 11 years now, so I guess they’ve figured it out. The Sharks have had some conflicts with concerts that have moved some playoff games around, but life goes on. You can do an afternoon/evening doubleheader if you have to (the Sharks and Warriors did this quite a few times when the Warriors slummed it in SJ for that year back in the ’90’s).

  25. Here’s a fun weekend for the Staples changeover crew: a Clips/Kings doubleheader on March 19th, a Clips/Lakers DH on the 20th, and back to hockey for a Kings game on the 21st.

  26. Saturday in San Jose: Globetrotters at 1 pm; Sharks at 7:30 pm

  27. Hockey-to-basketball (or vice-versa) switchovers are not a big deal as long as the arena has the technology needed to reduce manual labor. BTW, The floor change between the Clippers and Lakers takes only two hours including floor seat configuration.

  28. ML, what is the difference in the floor seat config between Lakers and Clippers?

  29. @Dan – Not much. The end seats are all mounted on risers and stay put, except for those on the front row. Only the seats along the sidelines get moved around much. The Lakers config is famous for having a very short press table, only large enough for the PA announcer, scorer, and a few others. Press sits upstairs.

  30. Well that makes sense. You need room for Jack Nicholson after all.

  31. Hope the Trotters and Generals don’t go into 20 overtimes.

  32. I would think Sterling would need more room to stretch his legs while he heckles Baron Davis from his courtside seat (I think this is hilarious BTW, despite Sterling’s general scumbaggery).

  33. I feel sorry for Sac-Town. No arena, means the Maloofs have no choice but to move the team or sell.

    They should move to Seattle and just take over the Sonics franchise.

    So, basically the Sac Kings would no longer exist, since the team will become the Seattle Sonics.

    The NBA has too many teams anyways.

  34. Seattle has the same arena problem: New building needed but no money to build it and no public will to do so. All moving to Seattle does is move the problem about 600 miles…

  35. Agreed with Sid.

    The Maloofs must move or sell!

    One of the two WILL happen. They gave Sac a chance and they bleeeewwww it!

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