Sacramento Kings fans can breathe a little easier: a deal has been reached to build a new arena, which will likely keep the team from moving south.
“Last spring, they were 95% out the door,” said Dale Kasler, who is covering the arena issue for the Sacramento Bee. “The cut a deal to move to Anaheim and it was pretty much signed, sealed, and delivered. They were going to go to the NBA to seek permission to move.”
That didn’t sit well with the city. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an NBA veteran, lobbied the NBA Board of Governors for enough time to develop a way to keep the Kings from packing their bags.
The result: a $391 million plan for a new arena, with the city paying $225 million. The Kings will pay $73 million, and arena operator AEG chips in $59 million. As part of the deal, the team will sign a lease requiring it to stay in Sacramento for 30 years.
Sacramento residents aren’t universally thrilled.
“In 2006, there was a plan put before the voters that would have involved a tax increase, a sales tax increase, and it lost something like 80% to 20%,” Kasler said. “It was a slaughter. It was one of the biggest political debacles Sacramento has seen in a while.”
However, voters don’t get a chance to have their say on this deal, since taxes won’t be raised to pay for the arena.
The Sacramento City Council votes next Tuesday on whether to approve the financing arrangement. If all goes according to plan, the new complex will be ready in time for the 2015-16 NBA season.