The mood in California's capitol has never been one that is resigned to the fact the Sacramento Kings are likely moving. Led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Kings fans have remained stubbornly hopeful and slightly confident that the team is staying put.
In the last few days however, the fan base and local leaders have become more than slightly confident. Just days after announcing the agreement of term sheet for a new arena in Downtown Sacramento, the group's new principal investor, Vivek Ranadive, announced that a fourth investor had joined the group. That investor, or investors, is the Jacobs family, which helped found Qualcomm Communications, has signed on to help keep the Kings in California.
The bigger story is the addition of Ranadive, a minority owner and Vice Chairman of the Warriors. He is Indian born and the Chairman, CEO and founder of TIBCO Software, a multibillion dollar company. He is the model of what the NBA would want a new NBA owner going forward. Ranadive spoke with News10's Nick Monacelli before Monday night's Warriors game and said his goal for being the owner of the Kings is about more than basketball.
"We believe Sacramento will be a global center. It is the State Capitol and having a sports team is essential. Cities find it hard to thrive without sports teams, and this goes back to the Roman times when they had coliseums," explained Ranadive. "So we want to create the 21st century coliseum right in downtown Sacramento and want to develop the whole area. We think it's going to be magical, and we think the entire world is going to applaud and enjoy this effort."
That is quite a lofty goal for Sacramento and refreshing considering the current owners only cared about making money that they would use to either pay off debt or build up more of it.
Ranadive is a self-made man as opposed to the spoiled brood that currently runs the team. He comes from a country, India, where basketball's popularity is so fast growing that the NBA recently opened up a league office to help grow its popularity.
The Sacramento City Council is expected to approve the arena term sheet tonight. The next big date to mark on the calender is April 3, when both ownership groups make their pitches to the NBA Board of Governors. The board will then have two weeks to decide which plan they favor. Then, they will decide to whether to approve the Kings relocation to Seattle.