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.