Top 5 reasons why the Kings should and should not move from an Anaheim Ducks and Southern California fan perspective:
Why the Kings should not move:
5. Over saturation of of the SoCal market. As much as I hate it and hate to admit it, the Lakers are the true kings of Southern California and that (unfortunately) includes Orange County. If the Kings move to Anaheim, that will make them the third NBA team in Southern California and the third professional sports team in Anaheim/Orange County. There is, however, precedent for having three teams in one region: the Angels, Dodgers, and Padres in the Southern California megaregion of 22.4 million people, the Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees in New York up until 1957, and the Devils, Islanders, and Rangers in the New York metropolitan area since 1982. For reasons I am not going to go into, I am just going to focus on the Devils, Islanders, and Rangers of the National Hockey League. Since the 1989–90 season, the Devils have averaged 15,197 fans between two arenas: Izod Center with a capacity of 19,040 (1982-2007) and Prudential Center with a capacity of 17,625 (2007-). The Islanders have drawn an average of 12,339 at Nassau Coliseum (capacity: 16,234) and the Rangers have drawn an average of 17,849 at Madison Square Garden (capacity: 18,200). To compare, the Ducks and LA Kings have drawn an average of 15,700—which has been about the league average during that time—each since 1993 and 1989 respectively (Honda Center capacity: 17,174; The Forum capacity: 16,005; Staples Center capacity: 18,118). Clearly, the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have underperformed. The Devils have had respectable attendance levels, however, when a team wins three championships and four conference championships, one would expect that team to play in front of capacity crowds and the Devils have never sold out an entire season at either arena while the Ducks have done it three times with only one championship. The Rangers are essentially the Lakers in this situation, because they have been completely unharmed in terms of fan base, but the Islanders and Devils are the Clippers and Kings/Royals. There is nominal support for the Devils (Kings/Royals) and very little support for the Islanders (Clippers). The Islanders/Clippers were there before the Devils/Kings, yet they have lost the most or have the most to lose. The real question someone has to ask; is the NBA willing to have this type of situation in Southern California?
4. Ice Quality: Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, and Honda Center were rated as having the worst ice surfaces in the NHL due to the large number of non-hockey events that go on in these venues. With 41 home NBA games, the Honda Center ice surface will only deteriorate further.
3. Cannibalization of Ducks ticket sales: The Anaheim Ducks ticket sales has been pretty much on par with the league average (they are below it this year) throughout their entire existence. I have seen this as a good thing considering the Ducks are not in what one would consider a traditional hockey market. Basketball is significantly more popular in Orange County than hockey and the casual fan may decide to spend money on the Anaheim Royals instead of the Anaheim Ducks.
2. Honda Center: I absolutely love the place and IMO, it is one of the nicest arenas in the country. HOWEVER, more events there could deteriorate the relative "niceness" of the facility and lead it to be less clean. I remember going to a Kings and Ducks game at Staples Center and an entire row was sticky and absolutely filthy because they had a basketball game right before and were unable to properly clean the facility.
1. David Taylor/ICON and current Kings fans: While this could be yet another dead end in the effort to get a new arena in California's capital city, I feel that there is real momentum building to get a new arena. It would be a damn shame if when Sacramento finally gets its act together, the Kings leave before the plan comes to fruition. Also, Southern California and Orange County fans know what it is like to have our team stolen from us because of stadium issues and most of us feel extreme empathy for the fans in Sacramento.
Why the Kings should move:
5. F@#K Los Angeles and Donald Sterling: There are many people in Orange County (and San Diego county) that absolutely loathe Los Angeles sports fans and their teams causing them to embrace an Anaheim team. Nothing is more fun than going to a Ducks and Kings game at Honda Center and getting a good "Beat LA" chant going. People in OC like to separate themselves from the urban behemoth to the north and that can be seen through the Angels and Ducks fan bases. This could (and probably will eventually) happen with the Anaheim Royals. This could also be the end to Donald Sterling, because there would finally be a legitimate alternative to the Lakers. If the Clippers start hemorrhaging money (like they should have done years ago), DTS will sell and the Clippers will either have to become good or move.
4. Attendance: While I argued before that the Kings move may hurt Ducks ticket sales, the move could also theoretically help the hockey team's attendance. There are quite a few seats throughout the arena that are sold for all events (hockey, concerts, basketball, etc) and a basketball team would probably ensure that those seats are always sold. This is why the Los Angeles Kings were able to have decent attendance numbers throughout their (very) lean years, they were able to sponge off of the Lakers' club seat sales. The Ducks, on the other hand, have had to do it all on their own with no help from a co-tenant.
3. Honda Center: I have been to both Arco Arena and Honda Center and there really is no comparison between the two venues: it is a night and day difference. Arco Arena was past its prime the day it opened while the Pond has 10-20 good years left depending on what kind of upgrades are done to the facility. Also, the Pond had 84 luxury suites to Arco's 30, 1,715 club seats to Arco's 412, and a basketball capacity of 18,336 to Arco's 17,317. There is obviously a big difference in the two venues. This, however, is more of an argument for why the Maloofs are drawn to Honda Center and not why a Ducks fan would be pleased with the move. As a Ducks fan, I know that eventually a new arena will be needed 10-20 years down the road and having a second tenant will greatly help the chances of getting that new arena. If a new arena is needed later on down the road, I want it being built so I do not have to go through what Sacramento is going through and what Anaheim/LA went through in 1995 with the Rams.
2. It's a matter of pride: I would like nothing more than to see my home community embrace a new team that will eventually bring pride to the entire county and region. Winning the World Series in 2002 and the Stanley Cup in 2007 has made Anaheim and Orange County respectable in some sports circles (even though ESPN will continue to go gaga over the east coast teams) and it sure is fun to reminisce about those great championship runs. While I would be thrilled with an NBA championship in Orange County, I would, at the same time feel terrible about how the Kings and Sacramento were robbed of what probably would have been that city's own NBA championship in the early 2000s.
1. MONEY: Money is what makes the world go round. Right? Well, I do not know whether or not the Maloofs are getting a good deal, but Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli sure is! If he can get more money out of Honda Center from a professional basketball team so he can spend more on arena improvements and the Ducks, that'll make me a very happy Ducks fan. My wish list: another championship and one of those really cool scoreboards that they have at Staples Center.