Sacramento City Council gets behind new arena exploration for Kings
Feb 27, 2013, 5:30 AM | Updated: 9:34 am
(AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
The Sacramento City Council made its play to help keep the Kings from leaving Tuesday night.
The council approved spending $150,000 to look at potential investors and possible plans for a new arena. The council will work with anyone who steps forward, including the shadow group promised by Mayor Kevin Johnson and minority owner John Keriotis who emerged as a player this week.
Councilmember Darrell Fong was one of the two no votes on the proposal. “The issue to me and many is ‘at what cost to the taxpayers,'” he said. “We’re here to protect our taxpayers and the people who live in the city. To me this has to make economic sense. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?”
Councilmember Kevin McCarty also voted against the plan because he believes the city doesn’t have enough information about who it might be dealing with, and he wants to make sure that the city will listen to every legitimate player.
“I think the City of Sacramento and our residents would like us to keep the Kings, like us to have a new arena in our city and also like us not to go broke,” he said. “We ought to be thinking about everything that’s on the table.”
Councilmember Steve Hansen said this when voting yes. “This is a very important opportunity that this city will not have if we just say ‘No.’ […] We want to say that we have an open mind, we want to keep the team, and we want to see how we can do this in a way that’s responsible.”
The mayor’s investor group is expected to include billionaire Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. It’s likely to ask for up to $200 million in public financing for a new arena. Current minority owner John Kehriotis has reportedly said he would finance a new arena with private money.
The NBA will decide April 18 on whether to approve the sale of the Kings to the Seattle investment group headed by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and allow the team to move to Seattle.