SACRAMENTO, CA - With just hours to go before their crucial NBA presentations, the intensity between the Sacramento and Seattle camps to secure the Sacramento Kings franchise is gaining momentum.
The would-be Seattle buyers, led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, will make their pitch first Wednesday morning to a panel of team owners on the relocation and finance committees. Kings majority owners George, Joe and Gavin Maloof will be present. Their $525 million deal with the Seattle contingent for a 65 percent ownership stake requires league approval, as does a $15.1 million agreement with minority owner Bob Cook for 7 percent of the team.
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Tuesday, Hansen announced 44,000 had pledged to buy season tickets for a Seattle team. It was reported last month he has bought land just south of Seattle's SAFECO Field for a new sports arena.
Wednesday afternoon EDT, the Sacramento "Here We Buy" contingent makes their pitch. They have a $448 million proposal for a new arena in Sacramento's Downtown Plaza, with the city of Sacramento putting up $258 million and private investors contributing $189.7 million to the construction, and up to $1 billion in total downtown revitalization. There are four major investors: Vivek Ranadive, founder of TIBCO Software Inc.; Mark Mastrov, founder of 24-Hour Fitness; Ron Burkle, Southern California grocery store magnate and Pittsburgh Penguins owner; and the Jacobs family of San Diego, led by Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm CEO.
In addition, more than 20 local Sacramento-area partners have pledged at least $1 million each toward buying the team. It was unclear how much the four equity players were contributing.
Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg will also speak to the NBA owners on California's regulatory and political climate, and support for streamlining the regulatory process of an economically viable and environmentally sustainable project, according to his office.
Supporters of the Sacramento effort, including a fan sent by Crown Downtown, one of the grassroots groups lobbying for a downtown sports and entertainment complex, were in New York as well.
Meantime, Sacramento Bee reporter Tony Bizjak says Sacramento attorney Patrick Soluri has sent letter to the city of Sacramento informing he will file suit against it for not first studying the environmental impact of the project before the Sacramento City Council approved the arena financial term sheet last week.
News10.net will carry live updates from reporters and Sacramento prinicipals in New York as they occur Wednesday. Then two weeks later, April 18 and 19, the NBA's Board of Governors, the 30 owners, cast their votes. Eight owners must say no to the Seattle bid to squash the move there.