SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 13: Fans wait to enter the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings on April 13, 2011 at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Hearing that the Sacramento Kings may replace deadbeat and bankrupt Power Balance as the holder of the arena naming rights might lead you to some mixed emotions. Our friends at Cowbell Kingdom first reported that the Kings were in talks with up to a half-dozen local companies about naming rights; the Bee confirmed on Tuesday that Sleep Train Mattress Centers, one of the strongest local companies we have, is in the mix.
Getting the stink of a scam product off of the building is of course a positive for the community; calling our gym "Power Balance Pavilion" is almost as bad as poor Houstonians having to attend games at "Enron Field" a decade ago. But I understand the fear that some have about lining the Maloofs' pockets: it's what drives the calls for boycotts, concession freeze-outs and parking anywhere but ARCO.
So while it's nice that we'll have the Sleep Train Basketball Center or the Buzz Oates House Of Hoop And More or Raley Fieldhouse, it's not as nice that the Maloofs will have that much more revenue and that much more ability to hang on to the basketball team they really cannot afford.
But it's not that simple.
More money for the Kings is good for all of us. It makes Sacramento more attractive as an NBA market. (We know it's very attractive already. This helps.) It makes the Kings franchise more attractive for a future owner. It helps reinforce the strength of our community, particularly if a local company like Sleep Train gets the contract.
And let's be real: the Maloofs haven't needed a whole lot of help going broke, right? A couple million dollars a year max on arena naming rights aren't going to save the family from the terrible decisions they are sure to make. This is the rare deal that makes Sacramento stronger without really improving the Maloofs' outlook. Until they find a way to make a consistent profit in the NBA (which likely involves a new or newer building), their future NBA outlook is relatively bleak. We're betting the NBA refuses relocation. Ergo, this deal, when it happens, changes little to nothing.