Money talks, Maloofs walk

Okay, that’s not how it was supposed to go. Joe and Gavin Maloof, the owners of the Sacramento Kings, abruptly pulled out of negotiations to buy a swath of downtown rail yards land for a new arena, with Joe telling the Sacramento Bee: “There are no more negotiations; we’ve already discussed all the issues. They know what we need. We’ve told them.”

This leaves Sacramento County voting on a November ballot proposal to raise sales taxes to build an arena, without anybody to build an arena for. The Maloofs are also reportedly withholding $1.5 million in cash they’d promised to give to the pro-arena campaign until their land demands are met.

The holdup is apparently over whether the city would get to build a retail/entertainment district on the land surrounding the arena, or whether the Maloofs would get it all for parking – though there have been murmurs of concern over the cost of toxic cleanup of the site as well. Interestingly, one Maloof objection may have been over whether competing restaurants would be allowed to operate next door to the arena – and interesting twist on how teams seek new buildings in order to reap the revenues from increased concessions and restaurant space, even while claiming that they will “revitalize” the surrounding neighborhoods.

If the Kings really do pull out, it’s hard to imagine anyone backing the arena sales-tax plan, which already faces substantial opposition and promised lawsuits. Okay, hard to imagine except for one guy: Sacramento assistant city manager told the Bee that “I believe this is worth moving forward with in any case. We have a need for an entertainment facility in this region of this size and quality. If the Kings are not a part of it, it is presumed that they are not part of our community.” Does this guy really need a reminder of the dangers of building arenas on spec?


4 comments on “Money talks, Maloofs walk

  1. I really loved Joe Maloof’s comment in today’s Bee:

    “Nobody in America could come here to this market, build it privately and expect to last more than three years without a sea of red ink.”

    Okay, so now we have a tacit admission that the arena will lose money, and the taxpayers are expected to pick up those losses. Thanks for pointing that out, Joe!

    And here’s my response: No, thank you. If it’s only going to lose money, it can do without mine.

    Clear enough??

  2. I’m sure people in Kansas City don’t take kindly to any allusion to Al Davis, but couldn’t the Kings take a hint from Al and scoot back to Kansas City after a 20-year-plus absence? (And imagine if their WNBA sisters tagged along — Buck O’Neil might get a kick that his beloved Negro League team would now share the name with a women’s basketball franchise.)

    Of course, if Kansas City doesn’t work, Cincinnati’s available…then Rochester…

  3. One (the Sacramento City and County politicans) born every minute. The carnival or circus is full of fun and moneymakers. I like sports, I buy two tickets to eleven (11) Kings games each year. Good entertainment. I like the Maloofs, great business people. But like B.T. Barnum they know how to make money from people who like entertainment i.e. booze distribution, casinos, carnivals, three ring circuses, and professional sports. Their overhead for Maloofs entainment includes their own salaries as CEO,s of Maloof’s Entertainment. Very smart young men and I hope they stay in Sacramento but I VOTE NOT TO PROVIDE A FREE NEW ARENA FOR THEIR COFERS WITH MY TAXES.