The City of Sacramento has reportedly reached a deal with the Kings to keep them in the city. According to Sam Amick of SI.com, The Maloof family will contribute $73 million in cash up front for a new $387 million arena. In addition to that, the Maloofs will pay a 5% surcharge on tickets to add another $60 million to the deal. The City of Sacramento will get the $250 million or so over time with arena naming rights and leases on parking structures, among other things.
This effectively ends the efforts to relocate the team to Anaheim, though there is still a city council vote necessary to approve the plan.
And now a small market team will get to stay in its small market, and an arena will be built that will ultimately, apparently, not cost the taxpayers any money (although they will be fronting most of it). The Maloofs will make a significant contribution, but we all know that a contribution like that wouldn’t be made if they didn’t know they’d get that money back and more.
And this is where the machinations of the new collective bargaining agreement may have come into play. A radically different model for revenue sharing and taxation may have prodded the Maloofs into the deal, knowing that they’ll get some added cash from the big market teams. With that money coming in and a system that might allow them to be a little more competitive, the Maloofs can look like the good guys… ultimately reaching the deal to stay rather than bolt for a larger market and avoiding the “at least in Orlando, it’s only one player leaving for a big market” type jokes.
Of course, the big winners are Kings fans, who can now pound their cowbells proudly for the foreseeable future. They have kept their Kings. Maybe there is hope for the little guys after all.