ARENA DEAL DEAD!
Well so much for those pretty renderings. Looks like downtown arena going down in flames. I love the Kings and personally, I will be sad if the Kings leave but the more this drags on, the more I give a sh** about the team and the Maloofs.
Kings owner suggests Power Balance renovation rather than new arena
Published Friday, Apr. 13, 2012
Sacramento Kings co-owner George Maloof this morning suggested the team renovate Power Balance Pavilion and keep playing there rather than build a new arena in the downtown railyard.
Maloof's position represents a total switch from years of saying the Kings need a new arena to stay in Sacramento. In a morning news conference in New York, the Kings owners characterized the present arena plan as unrealistic and a potential financial disaster for both the city and team.
"Why don't we look at redoing Power Balance?" Maloof asked. "Most of our customers enjoy going to Power Balance. ... It just seems more natural."
"It's less money. There's less pressure on everybody," he said.
Maloof said the franchise was not considering relocation.
"We're here to stay and get something done," he said.
His comments followed a presentation by an economist hired by the Maloofs that questioned the city's ability to build a new arena for the Kings and said the deal did not make economic sense for either the team or Sacramento.
During the news conference, Beacon Economics head Christopher Thornberg, one of California's most prominent economists, said terms of the arena proposal would put the Kings at enormous financial risk and place the city "right on the edge" of financial disaster.
Thornberg said the city's estimates of financial benefit from an arena are way overblown, and the projections of attendance at Kings games far too rosy.
The Maloofs were there to air their concerns about the current arena plan -- the result of a handshake deal in February among the city, the NBA, arena operator AEG and the Kings owners themselves.
Kings lawyer Barry McNeil told reporters that city officials presented the term sheet for approval to the City Council on March 6 even though the team owners had sent a letter days earlier with numerous concerns.
"We had objected, objected, objected, objected to its provisions," he said.
The term sheet, he said, was "inaccurate and largely irrelevant," given the team's lack of agreement.
After the Maloofs' lawyer spoke, George Maloof took the microphone and said the family had sent "four or five" letters to NBA taking issue with various items in the term sheet and was assured its concerns were being dealt with. That didn't happen, he said.
Maloof insisted, however, that the family was not seeking to pull out of the plan to build an arena in the downtown Sacramento railyard. "No. Why would you bring that up?" he asked a reporter.
"Our intention has been to get this deal done, not to kill the deal," Maloof said. "But at this point, how do we negotiate when we don't hear back from the city?"
Maloof said he plans to meet with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who Thursday night issued a letter saying the city doesn't intend to change the terms of its arena plan, in which the city agreed to put up $255 million by leveraging future downtown parking revenues.
"I'm going to ask the mayor - I have a right to ask - 'Where's our term sheet, why haven't you commented on our term sheet?' " he said. "That's just normal business practice. When you go to buy a car, do you take the first deal?"
He said the deal could still go forward, but only if Johnson will entertain changes. "If the mayor says he's not negotiating, then he's killed the deal and it's over," he said.
Johnson flew to New York on Thursday night and is currently meeting with the NBA Board of Governors in an attempt to salvage the arena plan, which the Kings have been seeking to change.
Maloof said his family remains willing to put in the $73 million it agreed to, but doesn't want to pay $3.2 million in pre-development costs. He suggested the city should put up those funds. The reason: The family would not get its money back if the deal fell apart.