Cal Expo rejects Kings arena plan

What next?

After several months of review, Cal Expo’s board came back and formally rejected a land swap proposal that would’ve placed the future home of the Kings on top of the old railyards near downtown and private development at the old fairgrounds, while Expo itself would’ve moved to the site of ARCO Arena.

Cal Expo board members voted 7-2 against the idea, saying the Natomas site is too small and not visible enough from the freeway.

“It’s the wrong site. We’ve said that time and time again,” said Cal Expo General Manager Norb Bartosik.

The complicated land swap proposal is the latest in a series of unsuccessful efforts – dating back a dozen years – to finance a new arena.

While the Maloofs were demure when asked to comment on the news – as they have been since David Stern took the wheel – you can’t help but think that whatever frustration they’ve held has to be spilling over at this point. They’ve said all the right things about not wanting to move the team, but Der Kommissar has to be getting ready to break out the big guns now. After all, he had few qualms about ripping the Sonics from Seattle, and the Emerald City had a much longer hoops lineage (and a ring) than Sactown.

So here’s the poll question for the week:

Where will the Kings end up?

A. Sacramento (where they flounder or a miracle deal is made)
B. Las Vegas (where the Maloofs get their unspeakable wish fulfilled)
C. Seattle (bought by Steve Ballmer and/or Howard Schultz)
D. San Jose (bought by Larry Ellison)
E. Kansas City (where they came from and an empty arena awaits, owner unknown)

46 thoughts on “Cal Expo rejects Kings arena plan

  1. Hey guys, I say D. also!!
    You can have an NBA team, and can also rebuild a new park for the SJ Giants at Muni Stadium or a new 10k park at Diridon, but leave my A’s alone!!!

  2. @jk-usa – Sorry to say that many of these SJ partisans, are, well, greedy. They’re not going to choose one over another. They want it all.

  3. Where would they play in San Jose though? I voted Seattle.

  4. @Zonis – HP Pavilion. I figure SVSE would happily exchange some arena improvements for a minority share of the team, a la AEG and the Lakers. Or the new owners would have to convince the city to pay for the improvements.

    The situation isn’t very different in Seattle. Key Arena would also require major improvements to be NBA-worthy again, so any owner would have to pony up along with Seattle/King County.

  5. The Sharks, A’s and Kings in downtown San Jose. The 49ers nearby in Santa Clara. This would recognize the reality that these teams belong in the South Bay, not in Frisco, where no one much cares about sports anyway, or Oakland, which really can’t support major league sports.

  6. @pjk–yeah, the Warriors get no fan support at all for the last 40 or so years in Oakland..lol.. FYI, they’ve drawn pretty well with some pretty lousy teams and are just dying for a winner.
    The Raiders drew well until they moved to LA and then came back. The bay area really turned into 49er country after 5 Super Bowl wins during the Raiders absence. Fans are sick of all the bad drafts and Davis’ ownership. The rebuilt Coli isn’t that great for football or baseball (of course), and that’s sad.
    As for the A’s, we know the history and I’ve gone over the attendance figs 1000 times on here, and get beat up by you guys on the averages. Things were kind of bad during the Finley era attendance wise for some pretty good teams, but got more respectable since he sold them. Playing in an older park that was redone for football and half way out the door the last 15 years, it could be a lot worse. 306k fans in 1979. 1.4 mill fans today. MLB avg. attendance was 1.4 mill in 1978 and averaged about a mill a year from 1946-1978, and half of that before 1946 to 1900. It’s about 2.5 mill a year average now, but they have to keep building new parks to maintain that. Running out of teams that need new parks.

  7. i think sj will probably get an nba team within the next decade to go along with most likely the a’s too.

    who that nba team is? could be the kings, especially if ellison wants to stick it to the w’s org and buy the kings and move them down to sj in a revamped hp. also could maybe see ellison or somebody else moving the grizzles from memphis here to sj. grizz aren’t doing all that well and could see that franchise moved pretty soon be it to sj or sea, heck they’d move back to their neck of the woods in the northwest if they went back to sea since they started up in van.

  8. do the w’s have tr rights on the bay area? would they fight tooth and nails as sfg are doing with the a’s wanting to move to sj?

    sj, sea and kc looks like three hot spots for landing an nba team.

    sj because of what the a’s see down there which is the big time money. sea which imo was a travesty that the sonics left especially going to a market like okc? kc has been a state of the art arena and probably are at the top of the list for any team looking to move to a city that has a new venue for them to play in.

    roblem is that really only two teams look like they’re even remotely close to moving in the near future and that is the kings and grizz as i mentioned previously.

  9. The Kings will stay put, Kevin Johnson wants it to happen too much to be dissuaded by this latest bump in the road.

  10. It would be kind of tough for the Warriors to defend “territorial rights” when the Lakers and Clippers play in the same building and the Nets are moving even closer to the Knicks. The A’s, Kings and Sharks in downtown San Jose would represent the Trifecta of common sense.

    FWIW, if an arena gets built in Frisco near PacBell Park for the Warriors, and the Raiders go back to LA, Oakland could find itself with no more sports teams at all.

  11. I lived in Sacramento for 7 years. It would be horrible to see the team move out of the immediate vicinity. It may be inevitable though, because the real challenge sitting between Sacramento, the Kings and a new arena is paying for the joint.
    .
    Mayor Johnson is trying to get an arena deal done without public subsidy. He doesn’t have the advantage of a large corporate base to help with that. I don’t see a way it actually gets done without Sactown kicking in some cash.
    .
    It may come down to a renovated Arco v a renovated HP v a renovated Key. It’s hard to handicap something like that.

  12. Here is how I think it may be stack ranked in the event the Kings move:
    1. Seattle Sonics
    2. San Jose Missions
    3. Kansas City Kings
    4. Las Vegas Lobos
    .
    I say Seattle first because there is no nearby team to cannibalize a fanbase from. There is the remains of an old fanbase that would get behind a return of the Sonics (think Cleveland Browns). Seattle and San Jose clearly offer better potential for high end suites and such when compared with KC or LV.

  13. Hey guys, how come St. Luis doesn’t have an NBA team? No NBA team in MO at all. Kind of strange, like LA having no NFL. I guess MO and LA are more baseball crazy, except the KC Royals has struggled at the gate, but losing every year doesn’t help. I vaguely remember the Spirits of St. Louis in the old ABA, who played 1974-76, and was dissolved.

  14. @jk-usa – Hoops tradition in Mizzou is poor. Back when both KC and STL had franchises, both teams were vagabonds. The Kings were originally the Royals, who actually split time between KC and Omaha, and before that were in Cincy. The Atlanta Hawks were originally the St. Louis Hawks, before that the Milwaukee Hawks. Neither market is big or active enough to be really great two or three-sport towns, so KC is a football town, while STL is a baseball town.

  15. re: Saint Louis. I think I recall efforts to move the then-Vancouver Grizzlies to Saint Louis but it never happened. (The NHL prides itself on being in Pittsburgh and Saint Louis when the NBA is not, for some reason.)

    ML: Go way way back and the Royals were the Rochester Royals, no?

    Milwaukee Hawks? Never heard that one.

    • @pjk/Jeffrey – It’s exhausting going through NBA franchise histories. Goes to show how far hoops has come in terms of legitimizing itself as a major sport, as opposed to the barnstorming days of decades ago.

      Bill Laurie wanted to buy the Grizzlies from Michael Heisley, but Stern didn’t like the idea that Laurie wouldn’t make even a token attempt to keep them in Vancouver. It was St Louis from the start. *shrug*

  16. Pjk, the Hawks actually started in Buffalo, A’s the Buffalo Bisons, and then be ame the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, then the Milwaukee Hawks, St. Louis Hawks and finally Atalanta Hawks. I used to have a poster that had a timeline for all the NBA teams and their name/city history, most of the league has been vagabondish from the start.

  17. The NBA used to be in a lot of mid-size cities – Fort Wayne (Indiana) Pistons, Rochester Royals, Syracuse Nationals (Now the 76ers). About the smallest town they are in now is Oakland…

  18. lets say the kings do move to sj, just maybe another team to go to 860 along with the a’s?

    maybe can hire some of the 1140 guys like grant/mike away from the afternoon and have them on 850. heck they’re somewhat pro east bay, i know mike is an a’s fan.

  19. I could see Ellison buying them just to screw over the Warriors, but that would really just be hurting both teams. A redone HPP would be marginally better for basketball than Arco, and would probably split the current Warriors market which is healthy enough, but not spectacularly so, for one team at present.

    Unfortunately, the Kings in Sac are a lot like the A’s in Oakland. They might draw decently if they at least pretended to be committed to the city that they’re stuck in, but they spend their whole time whining and turning off the fan base. Kind of begs to question what they’re thinking (if anything).

  20. pjk says:
    September 26, 2010 at 3:36 PM pjk(Quote)

    The NBA used to be in a lot of mid-size cities – Fort Wayne (Indiana) Pistons, Rochester Royals, Syracuse Nationals (Now the 76ers). About the smallest town they are in now is Oakland…

    Don’t forget those Sheboygan Redskins and Anderson Packers!

  21. i mentioned about espn buying up 860 a few weeks back. doubt it happens as i just read their pitt affiliate is about to go under. it’ll remain all sports up until the end of the year and then it’ll go to being radio disney.

    listening to the raiders postgame on 1550 and no raider callers? heck tittle on 860 on his two hour show gets more calls than the “official station” for the raiders do.

  22. i can’t see why the bay area couldn’t handle a second nba team? if they can handle two nfl and mlb teams, why not two nba teams? w’s imo have taken much of their fanbase for granted because they are the only team in town.

    i think a lot of w’s fans who are fed up with the w’s with their awful on the court performance especially in the past 15 years with only 1 playoff appearance and two .500+ records would jump on the chance to root for a team like the kings which has a legit superstar in the makings in evans and some other good youngsters. add to that one of the better gms in the nba in petrie. a team that looks as they’re heading in the right direction while the w’s look like they’re stuck in neutral regardless of a new ownership.

  23. @all – The W’s control a territory that covers a 75-mile radius around Oracle Arena. Keep that in mind.

  24. crap that means they’ll go back to kc or move to sea and become the new sonics.

  25. R.M.,
    I’m not greedy! I just want the A’s downtown. But I’ll be honest; I wouldn’t kick the NBA out of bed ;o). Whether it’s the Warriors (they could even stay “Golden State”) or the Kings. I think ideally you’d have the Giants and Warriors playing in SF (China Basin) and the A’s and Sharks at Diridon/Arena. As for the poll, the only reason I picked SJ as a future home of the Kings is because of gambling in Vegas. If not, Vegas would definetely be the frontrunner.

  26. If SJ gets the Kings they’ll draw good for the first few years, after that they have to be competitive. This area is still W’s country, and would be like the Giant’s over the A’s. W’s get good TV ratings for a lousy team. SJ would be lower, because the appeal will be pretty much SB, where as the W’s it’s all over the BA. Oracle is better for B-Ball than HP, even though HP has better surroundings.

    Here’s a little tidbit comparing SJ to Oak, but it’s from 15 years ago. Remember Roller Hockey back in the mid 90’s? You had the Oakland Skates and the San Jose Rhino’s. I went to a bunch of Skate games and a few Rhino games in SJ when they played the Skates. The Rhino’s had a little better team and were in the playoffs more than Oak and won a championship in 1995. The Rhino’s played from 1994-97, 99 and averaged about 4300 a game. The Oakland Skates played from 1993-96, and averaged 3100 a game. During the entire existence of the RHI, the average attendance was 3800, with the Anaheim Bullfrogs leading the way every year with about 9000 a game attendance which was way higher than anyone else so the figs are skewed a bit. In 1996, Oakland was forced to play in the funky 80 year old Kaiser Convention Center while the Oracle was being refurbished. They couldn’t strike a deal for the following year with the Oracle and folded. The league folded in 1997 and regrouped again in 1999 and died after that. It was fun watching games, always high scoring like Arena Football. The organist was the same guy at both Oak and SJ games and the kids had a blast. Watching games that final year at the Kaiser was a trip. I feel like I’m in a time warp back in 1935. I use the see the Big Time Wrestling there back in the early 70’s when I was a kid. Moondog Mayne, Pat Patterson and Haystack Calhoun are the ones I remember. Fun times and good memories.

  27. No point oversaturating the south bay sports market. This area is no particularly thirsty for hoops.

  28. Remember guys the NBA does not have a anti-trust exemption period. Therefore the Kings can move to San Jose even at the behest of the Warriors.

    The Clippers against a 22-0 vote by NBA owners moved to Los Angeles from San Diego via an anti-trust lawsuit. The Lakers were not indemnified in any sense although Donald Sterling did pay a 6 million dollar fine to the league at the time. (6 million back in the 1980s may I remind all)

    The Raiders moved to Los Angeles despite an unanimous vote by the NFL owners rejecting the move by the same means the Clippers did. In fact both teams were defended by the same LA based law firm.

    I knew from Day 1 this land swap idea would get shot down because no one asked Cal Expo what they thought about how they felt about moving to a smaller site…..Not smart at all on so many levels. Now it is official the whole deal is down the drain and the Kings are back to square one.

    The Maloofs should move to San Jose as they can at least retain some of their fan base in the Central Valley (Modesto/Tracy/Stockton areas) as there is minimal traffic going from these areas to San Jose in the evening. The corporate cash in the area would allow them to go big on free-agents plus the Sharks would throw in $$ in a revenue sharing agreement and renovate the HP Pavilion which sits in a much better area than Arco does. Far more manageable than getting a new arena with public money in this day and age.

    The Kings visited San Jose in 2009 about moving there and the City was instructed to wait out what happens in Sacramento first over the next 2 years (from 2009) before they were truly serious.
    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2009/10/10/1079066/report-kings-have-recently-talked

    With the HSR, A’s, BART all coming to that area the infrastructure is in place for the Kings to step in. They have a lot of good young talent with the team they have now and would draw much better in San Jose even with bad teams then they do currently in Sacramento.

    South Bay is pretty far from Oakland and in reality the Warriors get minimal fans from down here as in the case with the A’s. They do get some corporate support from there but in reality they draw well even when they are bad because of lack of competition in the market….”Competition breeds improvement”…When you suck and make money how does that force one to evolve?

    The rivalry that would be created would be quite interesting and it would increase the quality of both teams in the long run.

    Kansas City lost out on the Kings years ago and its a baseball/football town the way St. Louis is and the NBA knows this. San Jose supported the Warriors well in the 1 year they were in town (1996-1997) despite a bad team. I bumped into David Stern at a game there at that time, he has seen what San Jose has to offer and he liked it based on what I read in the newspaper at the time.

    Lets see what happens, in San Jose the Kings would create a new rivalry with the Warriors in the Bay Area and they would also retain their LA Lakers rivalry as they would be still in the same division.

    Seattle failed miserably, Las Vegas does not have an arena, and Sacramento has failed even worse than Seattle.

    San Jose Kings…anyone?

  29. I have to wonder if some of you actually follow these sports or just want more jewels in the SJ crown.

  30. I just don’t see why the Sharks would want to play in a shared venue instead of an exclusive one.

  31. The first Warriors-to-San Jose deal ( I mean the one that would have moved them to San Jose permanently) was rejected by the SHarks, I believe, because they would have lost some control of the arena. The Kings would have to accept second tenant status, although it would be in the Sharks’ and San Jose’s interest to make sure the Kings got their fair share of premium dates. The Sharks run the building and the more bookings, the more money they make.

    If Staples Center can host two NBA teams and an NHL team, I’m sure San Jose’s arena could add an NBA team.

  32. Seattle deserves a team. It would be weird to have two NBA teams in the Bay.

  33. How would Seattle fans react to a relocated team when that’s the manner in which they lost theirs? It’s not like with the Browns or Earthquakes.

  34. I’m sure they would take the team with open arms. Why wouldn’t they? You think they’re gonna sit at home and not go to games just because they’re sad that someone else had to lose a team?

  35. @jesse–it would also be weird to have the A’s in San Jose. Fremont would be even weirder, but San Jose, nonetheless, weird.

  36. @pjk- You are incorrect that the Sharks “shot down” the Warriors back in the 90s. In fact they had an agreement in place with the City of San Jose and the Sharks. It called for a massive renovation to the Arena at the time with some public money.

    Cohan (The jerk) used the proposal as leverage with Oakland who had to pony up $100 million plus of public money to keep the Warriors in town. Cohan accepted and the team played the 1996-1997 season in San Jose while the renovation took place to the Oakland Arena.

    The Sharks have spoken to the Kings already and they have discussed some sort of revenue sharing where the SVSE – Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment would buy a piece of the Kings and be minority owners.

    In turn SVSE would put in $50 million plus to renovate the HP Pavilion to make it better suited for basketball.

    It behooves the Sharks to share the Arena with the Kings or an NBA team in general as it will make it easier down the line to renovate or replace the HP Pavilion with 2 teams occupying it.

    11 teams share facilities in the NBA/NHL and all the big markets do it (NY, LA, CHI). The Kings have to realize they are not going to get a new arena anytime soon. By joining forces with the Sharks they can share the wealth of Silicon Valley and have a newly renovated arena in a great location. Arco Arena is in the middle of no where and is not close to Downtown Sacramento.

  37. Sid: You probably know more about the history of that than I. I know the Warriors had a deal to move to SJ and it never happened.

  38. Cohan: Buys Warriors for $100 mill (?); does awful job ruining I mean running it for 15 years, sells it for $400+ million. Nobody said life was fair

  39. @pjk–I agree. Totally sickening. It was 119 million he paid in 1995. Nice return on his investment for a crappy team, while I’m still trying to get back what I lost on my 401k from the market crash of 2008/9, which wiped out 5 years of profits. Yeah, life is not fair.

  40. And he overpaid at the time to boot!

  41. Re: the ’95-’96 negotiations, between the Warriors and SJ, it depends who you talk to. The Sharks were jumpy about the Warriors raising ticket prices for luxury box-holders, and the Warriors said that they just didn’t want to share the arena. Supposedly $43.5 mil was offered by the city, including 8.5 for arena improvements (not sure what the other 35 was).

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1995/11/04/MN25047.DTL

  42. Brian’s posts back up my original assessment that the Sharks killed the Warriors deal. All water long under the bridge at this point…

  43. The only way the Sharks would support an NBA team is if SVSE bought a stake in the team. The issues Art Savage brought up back then would still be issues today, if SVSE became the majority owner of the Kings, they would all be moot.
    .
    I still think the NBA has no reason to bring a second team to the Bay Area when they have an under performing team that draws well. Why split a fanbase?

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