We have had a lot of discussion on our website Elk Grove Laguna Forums about the Sacramento Kings leaving. So unless you’ve been out of town you know the Kings might be leaving Sacramento. Even if you are not a sports fan, this would be a blow to the entire area. It not only hurts the economy it hurts the morale of the community. We lose part of our identity. Sports and entertainment is a diversion for people in good times and bad. It brings national attention to the city. Whenever there is a Kings game thousands of people come to the area to watch, many go to local restaurants and businesses. People from out of town come here to spend money like the visiting teams, fans etc. The Maloofs own the arena. If they leave no one knows what will happen to the arena. Will they sell it with the land and will the buyer keep the building or as many think, knock it down and develop the land. The value is in the land. If the arena is closed that takes away from other entertainment options when basketball is not using it like concerts, ice shows, rodeos, boxing, etc.
It may be too late to keep the Kings from leaving. It sounds like there is more to the situation than needing a new arena. Speculation is maybe the Maloofs are in need of cash and that the deal with Anaheim will have that as part of the deal. Even if an arena was already approved and ready to be constructed, would that be enough to keep them here? This off season figures to be an important one for the franchise. They have been pointing to this time for a few years, when they would finally have the cap room to acquire free agents. What happens if that time comes and they can’t afford to sign any new players?
What else can be done to keep them here if the deal with Anaheim falls through? The Maloofs would need to be a part of any solution and work with the city and the current group that is working on the plans for a new arena. They need to be partners in the plan and have a financial stake in the deal. Any deal that requires direct funding by the tax payers will not fly in this economy. It would require some creative financing upfront which could be paid off by increasing the fees for those that use the arena with some sort of a surcharge or user fee. It will not work if it requires any kind of a public vote. The public will not vote for this. That has been tried and failed miserably. Unfortunately the city of Sacramento and those involved with previous arena plans have done a terrible job of educating the public. Too many people look at a new arena as some sort of public bailout for billionaire (or former billionaire) owners and a place where overpriced millionaire athletes play a game. The benefits of the arena to the entire area needs to be publicized. Basketball is only about 45 dates a year. A newer, more modern arena with better amenities, including a better sound system could attract high profile concerts that often skip over Sacramento for the Bay Area. Maybe Sacramento could be an additional stop on a tour for some of those groups. It would also be attractive to the NCAA to host regional games for the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which bring in a lot of money into the Sacramento region. Sacramento has played host to these in the past but the NCAA has ruled out a return without a new arena.
For the last 25 years residents of the area have supported the Kings, through bad times, then some really good years and now bad times again. Thousands of children have grown up being Kings fans. The franchise has had a positive impact on the community no matter what the naysayers will tell you. If the Kings go, we will not get another chance. The NBA is not looking to expand and if they do, we will not be one of their first choices. It would then take another Greg Lukenbill to have the commitment to buy another team and move it here. That is unlikely to happen again. The costs of franchises has gone up too much for that. We need to stop looking at this like a bailout for rich people in a bad economy and look at it like a benefit to our area. We’ve already lost so much these past few years because of the economy, do we want to lose the Kings too if it’s possible to keep them without making the taxpayers pay for it?