Here is my letter to the NBA Board of Governors, that I'll start emailing to the folks on Aykis' contact list that can be found here. I am posting it here in case anyone else wishes to do the same. Any thoughts on things I should add, subtract, or fix are much appreciated.
Dear NBA Board of Governors:
As we all know the Kings are not winning a lot of games. The economy, especially in the greater Sacramento area, is terrible. 1 in 6 people are out of a job. Government employees have had to deal with furlough days. Skilled laborers aren't working as much because nothing is being built or refurbished or remodelled. Fans still love this team, that's why they show up to free events at Power Balance Pavilion (PBP) for the draft, and even the draft lottery. We fans just can't justify spending our limited expendable income on going to games when the team fares poorly. If the team were winning they'd be more likely to put what little cash that they can afford aside to attend a game. Our passion for the team is still there, as evidenced by the grassroots Here We Stay campaign to sellout the Kings game against the Los Angeles Clippers on February 28th. Unfortunately, a bad economy and an incredibly young rebuilding team don't mix.
At the same time, the economy has hit the Maloofs pretty hard too. Their biggest business ventures are in Sacramento and Las Vegas, two places that have been killed by the recession. The Kings have been profitable the past few years, but mostly due to money saving deals. Is it worth it to them to invest in landing a big name free agent or taking on a large contract to net a great player when they can't be sure that it'll get the fans to start buying tickets to offset the extra money they'd be spending on bigger contracts? It's a risky investment on their part and I don't totally blame them for not wanting to do make that investment. They aren't bad guys, just businessmen trying to keep an incredibly expensive business afloat. We understand this.
The Maloofs have been asking for a new Sacramento arena for years. For various reasons, each proposal has failed. PBP, formerly known as Arco Arena, is outdated and in dire need of replacement. Everyone can agree on this. Currently, Sacramento developer David Taylor, along with ICON Venue Group have been charged with doing a study on the feasibility of building a new arena in Sacramento. The ICON Venue Group has successfully built entertainment and sporting venues all over the world. Their portfolio includes the following sports venues in America:
Pepsi Center, Denver
Staples Center Renovation, Los Angeles
Prudential Center, New Jersey
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh
US Cellular Field, Chicago
INVESCO Field at Mile High, Denver
Of further note with the arena issue is the fact that the Honda Center is not much newer than PBP. There is only a five year age difference. Furthermore, the Maloofs own PBP, which nets them income from other events that take place at their facility. This will not be the case with the Honda Center. Their income will be limited to Kings-related events.
The biggest problem with this potential move is that it just doesn't make financial sense. It has been reported that Henry Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks and the Honda Center, has offered the Maloofs a $100 million loan to help with the relocation to play in his arena. This will help cover the costs of relocating, paying off the $67 million they owe to Sacramento (which may be higher due to a prepayment penalty) and help with territorial rights. They are apparently doing this to land the television rights with Fox Sports West, whose deal with the Lakers will expire in 2012. The Lakers, as has been reported, have already signed a new deal with Time Warner and will let their deal with Fox expire. The Lakers previous deal with Fox made them $30 million per year. The Maloofs, owning an inferior team, stand to make less on any potential television deal. A $100 million loan would only put the Maloofs in even more debt than they are right now with the current city their team resides in.
To summarize, the Maloofs will have to take on a larger debt than they currently owe. They will play in an arena that is almost the same age as the current one they want to replace. While they will receive more income from a potential new television deal, they will make less money on other entertainment events held at the Honda Center. This relocation deal may help the Maloofs in the short term, but could hurt in the long run.
This is why Kings' fans are asking you to vote against the Kings' relocation bid to Anaheim. We know we can't blame them for leaving after so many failed attempts to get a new arena built in the area. However, we hope that you'll give us one last chance and help postpone any relocation request until next year, after David Taylor and the ICON Venue Group complete their feasibility study that hopefully leads to a full-scale arena plan. With their ever expanding portfolio of entertainment and sports venues, we believe that they have the potential bring a truly viable arena plan to the city of Sacramento that will benefit Sacramento and the surrounding area, the Maloofs, the Kings franchise, and us, the fans.
Thank you for your consideration.
Fans of the Sacramento Kings