Battle of the Cities

By Sean Burke
UJW Staff Writer

WASHINGTON- Here we go again. Another city versus city match up is at it again in professional sports. 200px-Sacramento_Kings_alternate_logo.svg

Seattle has been on both ends of the stick. In 2008, the city lost its NBA franchise, the Supersonics, to Oklahoma City. Now in 2013, Seattle is trying to lure another franchise, the Kings, from Sacramento.
With the NBA board of governors meeting passed, the decision was to keep the team in Sacramento.
An agreement has been reached with the Sacramento Group by the Maloof family to sell the team for $535 million.

History is filled with instances where a team wants a new facility and threatens to leave otherwise. Seattle elected not to build a new arena. That led the Supersonics to move to Oklahoma City, which built an arena in 1999 to eventually lure an NBA team.

Miami faced a similar situation with its Major League Baseball franchise, the Marlins. Elected officials approved a plan to spend public monies on a new $639 million ballpark.

Other cities that made the same decision as Seattle and lost teams include Atlanta (the NHL’s Thrashers), Houston (the NFL’s Oilers) and Montreal (MLB’s Expos).

“Issues like these are often to be found in professional sports,” said Steve Solomon, of Washington D.C.’s ESPN 980.

The Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985 and have played in the same arena ever since. Sleep Train Arena is one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, though it has been renovated several times.

Three principal deals have been reached in the past five years, but either the city or the owners, the Maloof family, backed out. The Maloof family has owned the Kings since 1998, and has had financial troubles since 2003.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has led the Sacramento group that has pledged $406 million for a new arena, with $16 million of that non-refundable. A total team value is $525 million, the original amount offered for the Hansen group.
Vivek Ranadive is part of this group, which would build a new arena in downtown Sacramento. Estimated completion time would be done by the 2016/2017 NBA season.

Seattle has been without a team for five years. Originally trying to replace Key Arena, a deal was not done and the Supersonics was moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager has put together a group who consists of, Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft and Peter and Erik Nordstrom, of Nordstrom, who are willing to buy the team and relocate them back to Seattle.

A bid that the Hansen group has offered is worth $625 million dollars, to buy the team.
“My brother and I are very excited to be part of this ownership group. We feel that Seattle deserves a new team, a new arena, and a new start.” said Erik Nordstrom, co- owner, of Nordstrom.

The Maloof family preferred the offer to Seattle, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN’s NBA coverage online.

“We are confident in the NBA and the board of governors will make the right decision.” said Clyde Smith, one of the many hoping the team is saved in Sacramento.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.