New Sacramento Arena Souring

Regarding that new basketball arena in Sacramento, Calif.: let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The Maloof family, owners of NBA’s Sacramento Kings, has been for some time now insistent on a facility to replace the aging Power Balance Pavilion, to the point where Mayor Kevin Johnson has brokered a tentative agreement to make it happen.

Then, on April 13, this happened.

George Maloof, during a meeting about building the arena in the downtown railyard, asked a rhetorical question.
“Why don’t we look at redoing Power Balance?” he asked, according to the Sacramento Bee. “Most of our customers enjoy going to Power Balance. … It just seems more natural.

“It’s less money. There’s less pressure on everybody,” Maloof reportedly said.

The comments followed a presentation by prominent economist Christopher Thornberg, who said the terms of the new arena would put the Kings at enormous financial risk and place the city “right on the edge” of financial ruin, according to the Bee.

Thornberg said the city’s estimates of benefit for the arena are “way overblown” and projections for attendance too rosy, the paper said.

Kings attorney Barry McNeil said city officials presented the term sheet for approval to the City Council even though the Maloofs had concerns.

“We had objected, objected, objected, objected to its provisions,” McNeil told reporters.

Also on April 13, NBA Commissioner David Stern said a new arena in Sacramento is “not going to happen,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He expressed concerns about financing and political obstacles.

A basketball official close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly told the Times that the Maloofs’ “focus is still on Anaheim” and a relocation to the Honda Center as soon as the 2013-14 season.

The Honda Center is in the middle of a multimillion-dollar upgrade to make it an NBA-ready venue.

During the Sacramento presentation, the Maloof brothers noted the city “refuses to publicly disclose material facts” about the arena’s planned progress, the Times said.