Talk about your come-from-behind victories. The Maloof family is running into some serious pushback on its possible move to Anaheim. Sacramento Mayor (and former Kings star) Kevin Johnson is hosting an NBA contingent today and tomorrow to present his case that the state capital could indeed support a pro basketball franchise. The Sacramento Bee reports that this morning's sessions went well:
[Mayor Kevin Johnson and state Senate President Darrell Steinberg] said NBA officials listened attentively and asked plenty of questions as Johnson and Steinberg delivered a unified message: Give Sacramento at least one more year to show the league it has the financial wherewithal to support the Kings and the political will to get an arena built.
Johnson presented a list of corporate sponsorships totaling $9.2 million, which is serious money for such a small market. The mayor was apparently masterful in pitching the city during a league meeting last week in NY - so much so that the deadline to file for relocation was moved back to May 2. Anaheim, according to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, was not nearly as effective in pleading its case.
Specifically, a source with knowledge of the proposal revealed that the television rights riches that had long been seen as a major motivating factor for the Maloofs aren't quite as lucrative as they had hoped. And while it had been assumed they would attempt to fill the programming void left by the Lakers at Fox Sports West due to their recent megadeal with Time Warner that starts in 2012, two sources said that is not the case.
The plan as presented in New York included a possible partnership worth $20 million annually with KDOC, an Orange County-based, independent television station that is co-owned by the very man working so hard to make this move happen. Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli, who operates the Honda Center where the Maloofs' team would play and has already committed $50 million through city bonds to help cover their cost of relocation, reportedly teamed with Bert Ellis to pay $149.5 million for the station in 2006.
A $20 million package isn't especially impressive, considering that this is the nation's second largest media market (that's lower than the Clippers' television contract with Fox Sports West). "The math, in other words, just isn't adding up like the Maloofs had hoped," Amick writes. "And while the complications continue in Anaheim, optimism is on the rise in Sacramento."