Bruce Rader of WAVY-TV reports that the City of Virginia Beach and Comcast-Spectacor will announce today that they do not have a deal with the Sacramento Kings to get a new arena and an NBA team in their fair beach town.
Rader says a joint announcement from Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms and Comcast's Peter Luuko will announce that a deal couldn't be reached with an NBA team at this point, and because of that, the city will not ask the State of Virginia for $150 million of funding needed to entice the team.
Apparently, a deal that is basically a free arena plus funding to cover relocation and two lost seasons in po-dunk buildings was not enough for the Maloofs.
Rader said it's expected that the Kings will now look at other options. A sale to the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer will be a top rumor. Stay tuned.
Thanks as always to SacTownMike for the FanShot.
UPDATE, 7:21 a.m. Pacific: The Virginian-Pilot has confirmed the report with Sessoms.
Mayor Will Sessoms said this morning: "The city doesn't see a clear opportunity at this point and as such its not something we're aggressively going after."
UPDATE, 8:54 a.m. Pacific: Virginia Beach and Comcast have released their joint statement.
The city of Virginia Beach and Comcast-Spectacor are working diligently to reach an agreement to build an entertainment and sports arena at the Virginia Beach resort. Both parties remain committed to the concept of an arena in Virginia Beach and to continuing discussions with a potential anchor tenant.
That said, we have not reached a level of progress that will allow the city to go before the General Assembly to request the necessary funding. If the city is to secure support from the state, which is critical to this project, we must have a firm proposal for the legislature to consider. We must make more progress with our discussions.
We both firmly believe that Hampton Roads is ready for a large sports-and-entertainment venue.
This is still the largest market in the nation without a major-league sports team.
The Virginia Beach economy is strong and attractive to major entertainment acts and pro sports leagues.
The Oceanfront is an ideal location for the project with its proximity to the highway system, hotel infrastructure, Convention Center and parking.
Therefore, it is in the best interests of the city and Comcast-Spectacor to continue their discussions about how to make this happen.
UPDATE, 8:55 a.m. Pacific: The Maloofs' spokesman Eric Rose also released a statement. I hope he hasn't worn out his ctrl and v keys.
"As we have said for nearly a year, we have been contacted by several cities and parties interested in the Sacramento Kings organization. The announcement today from Virginia Beach does not change our long-held position that we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the franchise."