It’s still unknown where the Sacramento Kings will play in the 2013-2014 NBA season.
Both Seattle and Sacramento are looking to be the home of the franchise. Groups on each side met with owners and team representatives on Wednesday, looking for approval from the league for the right to buy the team.
In January, the Maloof family agreed to sell 65 percent of the Kings to a group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer. The sale, however, needs to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been looking to block the sale in an attempt to keep the Kings in their current city. He has helped put together a group from Sacramento that is led by software mogul Vivek Ranadive. The family that controls the communication company Qualcomm and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov are also involved.
According to NBA commissioner David Stern, both groups made compelling cases for acquiring the Kings.
"We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction time lines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities," Stern said. "It was a long day without any breaks, and both sides made, in my view, very, very strong presentations."
Hansen is looking to bring basketball back to a city that has been without a professional team since 2008. The Seattle SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder after spending 41 years in the city and having won an NBA championship in the process.
The hedge fund manager claims fans in Seattle are eager to have another professional basketball team. He says there have already been 44,000 season ticket requests for a potential Kings season in Seattle next year.
The Kings franchise is no stranger to relocation. The team was known as the Rochester Royals in their infancy and played in three different cities before settling in California’s capital in 1985. There had been talk of the Kings moving to Anaheim in 2012.
When the team was making deep playoff runs in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, fan support was alive and well in Sacramento. That hasn’t been the case, though, in recent seasons, as the team has been one of the worst in the NBA for the past few years.
The Kings are last in attendance this season, averaging 13,595 fans per home game.
On April 18 and 19, the group that met with the Sacramento and Seattle parties will make a recommendation to the Board of Governors.