Amick: Sacramento may get reprieve after all

Turns out the rosy numbers expected to save the Maloofs may not be materializing as they hoped, according to NBA writer Sam Amick. Hesitance on commissioner David Stern’s part (and the owners’) ostensibly rests on three issues:

  • TV money isn’t as impressive as it could be. A new $20 million/year contract not with Fox Sports, but rather Henry Samueli-owned KDOC, is more than the $11 million/year the Kings are getting from CSNCA, but perhaps they could be getting more considering how large the SoCal market is.
  • Stern and the owners are concerned about the nature of the relationship between the Maloofs and Samueli. Are they spooked about the spectre of massive debt in light of what’s happening with the Dodgers? Is this about setting a precedent, or not wanting an outside bidder to have too much control over the process?
  • Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson claimed he had $7 million in corporate commitments. Amick poses this as a, “Why couldn’t the Maloofs get this?” problem though frankly, we don’t know enough to make a judgment. Is that $7 million for a new downtown arena? An updated ARCO? What does it represent?

The key indicator may be that the Kings’ ticket office is getting instructions to start selling season tickets again. Short term, it would allow Sacramento to keep the team for at least another year while it continues to work on an arena plan. Yet again, that’s what it comes down to. Unless there’s a city/voter-approved plan, all of this is delay, not solution. The most recent NBA arena project, Amway Center in Orlando, required $50 million in cash upfront from the Magic. Shouldn’t that at least be the starting point for the Kings in Sacramento?

Translating that to San Jose, this raises some question as to whether a second NBA team could work in the Bay Area. There’s no way a second NBA team will get $20 million in local TV rights, probably much less. Keep in mind that such a team would probably end up at CSNCA, whether or not the Kings were still in Sacramento. Stern’s goal is ostensibly to get a moving team on a much better economic footing, not a marginally better one.

18 thoughts on “Amick: Sacramento may get reprieve after all

  1. Oh it got better than that this morning ML. From Mark Kriedler’s twitter this morning…

    “Rob Stutzman confirms his group cruised past needed sigs to force public vote on Anaheim bonds. Collecting plenty extras now in case of DQs.

    Rob already has sent letter to NBA explaining exactly what this means: $75 mil bonds now cannot be issued until public approves.”

    Now Anaheim in addition to offering a crappier TV deal than originally thought, cannot issue the 75 million in bonds for the required upgrades to Honda Center in time for the coming season due to it now requiring a public vote (a vote it’s not guaranteed to pass either based on the mixed bag reaction to the Kings from Anaheim taxpayers…)

  2. @Dan- You are 100% wrong on this and here is why:

    1. The bonds passed by Anaheim are simply a financing conduit for the private investors putting up the money.

    2. The taxpayers are not on the hook for any of this therefore this Sacramento politician is way out of bounds on this.

    If they put it to a vote Anaheim will simply withdraw the bonds and Samueli and his investors will invest their money directly.

    In either case the taxpayers in OC are not on the hook for any of this therefore this is a sweet deal for Anaheim. It will never make it to a vote because the public is not putting any of the money nor are they responsible for a relapse of it.

    @ML- The TV deal in San Jose would get 20M plus. Here is why:

    -Right now you are correct the Kings are on CSNCA. The issue is the fact the Bay Area is blacked out from Kings games while the Warriors are blacked out in the Central Valley and everything north.

    -If a team came to San Jose the entire region of Nor Cal would end up being shared by the Warriors and the new San Jose team.

    Therefore the TV money increases big time for a San Jose team because everyone now gets 2 teams to watch in the Nor Cal and there is no longer a split like there exists now.

    The NBA will let the Kings move because of what happened with the Clippers in the 1980s. No vote has ever been turned down in NBA history except for the Clippers moving to LA because the owners know they will lose it court if it comes down to that.

    Sacramento is finished by a long shot and San Jose is a much city for sports in general as they have the private sector and affluent fan base Sacramento lacks.

    Anaheim is similar to San Jose in this fashion and the Maloofs see this and have given up hope after trying for years in small market Sacramento.

  3. Sid, hate to break it to you, but any bond measure can be required to be put to a vote in Anaheim. Even one that is being financed through private purchases of the bonds since those bonds are being paid back with public funds. This bond measure will be on the June 2012 ballot unless they choose to abandon it. And even if Samueli does decide to finance directly to get around this hurdle (which he has so far shown no inclination to do), there’s still the matter of the owners not approving the move for the other reasons mentioned including a crap TV deal in Anaheim, and questionable financial gains for the league as a whole while violating the territorial rights of two franchises (one of which is arguably the most powerful and influential in the league).

    Sorry but it looks like Sacramento will get at least until March 2012 to work this all out. Whether they will is still an open question of course, but the odds of this move happening the off season have taken some very large hits in the last week. So much so that the league is now ordering the team to begin season ticket sales, in Sac for 2011-12.

  4. $20mil/year isn’t that bad of a contract for a team in a new region that honestly is not going to get as many viewers as the Lakers or even the Clippers. According to the article the Clippers only get $22.5mil/year. And due to KDOC being a broadcast channel they will be able to get exposure to many more potential fans than if they were to get a more lucrative deal with Fox Sports. And after a couple years when they’ve built up a fan base and the Lakers have left for their new RSN, then they can go in and ask for a better deal.

  5. Let’s count potential no votes on Kings-to-Anaheim:
    * Lakers – don’t want a 3rd team in their market
    * Clippers – see above
    * Knicks – don’t want a third team in their market when Nets go to Brooklyn and NJ seeks a new NBA team for Prudential Center
    * Nets – see Knicks
    * Warriors – don’t want to set a precedent that could allow a second team in the Bay Area (San Jose)

    What other teams are likely to vote no? The only other precedent for 3 teams in the same market is not good – NHL’s Devils, Rangers and Isles. Rangers sell out and the other two struggle to sell tickets, even when the Devils win 3 Stanley Cups and move into a new arena.

  6. Chicago is likely a no with the threats to move either the Griz or Hornets into their region. Dallas has been bandied as a possible no vote as well.

    But I think the bigger question is, who are the yes votes. Because the fact that they had to delay because they didn’t have the votes implies that so far there are not enough yes votes.

  7. Hooray for Sactown… Make something happen.

  8. Only a matter of time before someone posts the same thing will (or should) happen with the A’s and Oakland.

  9. Actually you were the first one to post something like that… And it won’t happen for Oakland until they actually do something like Sacramento has done.

  10. Suck it, Anaheim! Not yet mentioned here is that CSNCA has also offered to up the value of their TV contract if the Kings stay in Sac. KJ played the right cards here, by showing the NBA the money, and by calling the real financial benefit of a move into the question it deserves. It won’t mean anything unlesz the IKON project is successful, but I hope Oakland can learn from his blueprint.

  11. So… The big deal for Sactown here, as I see it, was the brillance of calling for a vote (with a petition drive) in a city that none of them live in. Oaktown won’t be able to pull that in San Jose, primarily because San Jose is already planning a vote.
    .
    Until Oakland ponies up money for construction costs… They have no cards to play. Just my opinion, based on fact, but still an opinion.

  12. Oakland definitely has less cards to play, but hopefully the example gives them a clue on how to proceed if the really want to keep the A’s. From what I’ve read, calling for the vote didn’t have nearly as much to do with this as establishing increased funding and progress (if not complete) on an arena plan.

    Somehow, Oakland needs to make Victory Court seem more profitable than the train station, and tap into San Francisco/Oakland/Contra Costa’s pockets (another recent good angle here in Sac has been calling on the region, not just the city). That’s a tall order when competing with microchip millionaires, to be sure.

  13. Actually even if San Jose wasn’t calling for the advisory vote they’re planning a petition drive for one wouldn’t work. Since in this case the city isn’t providing the team any money directly to the stadium or the team.

  14. Yay for Sactown! I was in the mountains last week and thus got the Sacramento channels and it was really sad watching all the fans have to go through what looked like the last game ever for their local team. Nice to see they have a second chance. I hope it works out for them.

  15. It is good that the fans of Sacramento are getting another with the Kings. But the leaders in Sacramento must come up another plan for new venue for the Kings in the hopes of keeping the team. If these leaders can’t come up with plans for a new arena that pleases all parties concerned (Sacramento taxpayers, the Maloofs, etc) then next season (If there is a next season) is just a delay for the eventual move to Anaheim.

  16. @Guy–agree completely–reality is that there is a good chance for a NBA lockout next year so to push through a move didnt make alot of sense—but bottom line–unless Sacto can figure a way to privately finance an arena it ain’t going to happen—and coming up with $350-$400M of private money without alot of corporate backing in that area is going to be tough–

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