Kings relocation committee meets, says decision at least two weeks off

After the NBA sent out its announcement on Tuesday that a vote on whether the Sacramento Kings will be moved to Seattle would be delayed beyond this week’s NBA owners’ meetings, there was some speculation that this was because league bylaws require a 7-day waiting period between a committee recommendation and a full league vote. And the relocation committee couldn’t mean last week, I guess, because they couldn’t get dinner reservations?

Anyway, the relocation committee met yesterday, and afterwards league officials were more blunt than usual: Don’t count on a decision anytime soon.

Emerging from a four-hour meeting of NBA team owners charged with examining the Sacramento Kings’ proposed sale and move to Seattle, NBA Commissioner David Stern said today a final decision on the issue could still be at least two weeks away.

Stern said the owners on the joint relocation/finance advisory committee had not decided on a recommendation on the franchise’s future, but that the group has scheduled another meeting on the subject – their third – set for late next week. If a recommendation is made then, the full Board of Governors, made up of the league’s 30 team owners, cannot vote on the matter until seven days later, Stern said.

“The committee still has additional questions as they go through this in great detail,” Stern said. He said those questions still concern potential lawsuits facing arena plans in both Sacramento and Seattle, as well as financial issues with those plans.

If that wasn’t clear enough, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt said following the meeting that the committee is “not even close” to a decision. Holt also said — I think in response to a question about league expansion, though the Sacramento Bee article that reported this was unclear — that “The world is growing. We’re focused on China and India and those kind of places.” Which if you’re in a Sacramento kind of mood could be a positive sign for prospective local owner Vivek Ranadive, who has declared that he’s committed to “making [basketball] the No. 2 sport in India” behind cricket.

Anyway, it appears that the NBA is just as confused as the rest of us where the Kings will end up, and isn’t going to make a decision until it’s good and ready. At some point this could mean endangering the possibility of relocating the team for the 2013-14 season, but for now, everybody is content to stay in “tell me more” mode. As they probably should be, when the “more” has at times meant more cash.


59 comments on “Kings relocation committee meets, says decision at least two weeks off

  1. If this stretches out into the later half of May it will be interesting to see who is still left in the front office to handle the draft.

  2. More time also means let’s see where each city’s arena projects are going. There was an interesting article in the Bee that talked about how JMA, the owner of Downtown Plaza, where the arena would go, has alternative plans and those plans such as more restaurants, retail for downtown residents like groceries and drug stores, and more connection to the surrounding streets if the arena doesn’t get built. Much better and useful than having that monstrosity in the neighborhood.

  3. One continuing problem with the Bee articles is that they contain information that is not factual. For example, the “delay” issue. It’s not a delay; league bylaws say sales decisions take a minimum of 7 days. So for them to say that the vote could come this Friday never was correct. We were all mislead on that one.

    I don’t know if the committee has rendered a decision yet, but when they do, we won’t get a vote for at least 7 days. That is set in stone.

    In yesterday’s Bee article, KJ claimed the City has a binding agreement to buy the Kings. I’d like to cut KJ some slack here, but at this point, I am unable to. It’s part of a larger pattern. And the Bee never says, “Huh… We do? Can we see that paperwork?” They just go with it.

    KJ is acting like SMI passed. I won’t ask him if it did; I know what he’d say.

    Anyway, practical question: How do you devise an 82 game schedule with 31 teams?

    I still think Seattle has a pretty major lead here.

  4. I could see the consolation prize be an expansion franchise in a couple of years down the road, which would go to Sacramento. I could see the NBA saying, “Sacramento, meet certain milestones in your arena building and if you can’t meet one, you’re out.”

    31 teams is a problem but maybe have Sacramento compete with Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and others.

  5. relying on the Sac Bee anymore is a fool’s errand…the Bee and McClatchy went kaput quite awhile ago…piece of trash printing innuendo and gossip and covering up for the Pedophile Mayor and his band of goons and kleptomaniacs…

    for instance…this guy Friedman who supposedly replaced Burkle…boy is that a joke…well he inherited some money from his father but has lived off the welfare state and money doled out by redevelopment…there is nothing to him…no there there…all Friedman’s hot air is backed up by a continuous flow of cash from the government to his pockets…take 16th and J where Moonbeam has an apartment and sleeps occasionally…for that job Friedman got 10 million in CASH free and clear to develop the property and loads of other goodies from the City…

    Matching the amount of cash by Seattle is going to drive Sacramento into BANKRUPTCY just like Stockton…only this one will be quicker…

    take a look at what Sac is proposing… the government liars, kleptomaniacs and thieves are giving away land owned by the PEOPLE not anywhere near any proposed arena….Sacramento government is a corrupt and venal society which in turns attracts the same for associates…

  6. There could have been a vote this week if the committee had met last week. So there has been a delay, it just came a week ago, even if it was only just reported now.

    As for 31 teams and an 82-game schedule, it’s doable — you just have some teams play some other teams more often than others. There were 29 teams until the Bobcats joined, and no NBA schedulemakers succumbed to madness that I recall.

  7. While having a fully ‘equalized’ schedule is desirable, its hard to argue that having some teams play differing numbers of games against opponents is any more of a handicap than the travel schedule some of the western conference teams face, for example.

    Nonetheless, we are assuming a possible Seattle (or Sacramento) expansion team would join the league alone. I’m not sure that that would be the case, to be honest. Why take $450m when you can probably get $900m?

    On the other hand, as many others have noted, if the league approves whatever plan KJ actually has (pause for obvious comical remark here), there’s no guarantee Hansen won’t just go make a phenomenal offer for another quasi-distressed team. Even in the cash rich NBA, there’s more than one owner who would like to cash out at today’s prices.

  8. “Nonetheless, we are assuming a possible Seattle (or Sacramento) expansion team would join the league alone. I’m not sure that that would be the case, to be honest. Why take $450m when you can probably get $900m?”

    Because then you have to split the national TV boodle 32 ways rather than 31.

  9. When considering whether the Seattle ownership group could offer to buy another team, I am reminded of the words of Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of Formula 1 Management. When asked in the 1980’s if it was true that the Brabham F1 team (which he owned at the time) was for sale, Ecclestone replied “I am an entrepreneur. Anything I have is for sale”.
    I am sure that if the Seattle group still has financing in place, they would find an ownership group somewhere willing to sell a team to them if they have enough ca$h.

  10. The Seattle arena MOU does not have final approval. Two separate judges have ruled that. The Seattle arena MOU, or any agreement about the arena, is not binding. So, Sacramento has no binding agreement, Seattle has no binding agreement. The Seattle arena proposal is no further along than the Sacramento proposal. Neither are close to constructing an arena. I don’t know much about Sacramento; but the Seattle arena proposal will continue to have litigation filed against it, and the Seattle arena proposal will cost politicians many votes. The Seattle Mayor is up for election this year, and the Mayor has been the number one proponent of the arena. The Mayor is likely to lose.

    The NBA had Seattle rebuild Key Arena to NBA designs; then the NBA said Key Arena was no good after the Seattle taxpayer rebuilt Key Arena to the NBA’s design, with the NBA overseeing the project. The NBA got its subsidy money from Seattle, and the NBA has an arena in Seattle already.

    Seattle Citizens do not feel that they owe tithe to the NBA (or Hansen, Ballmer, Nordstroms). The Seattle arena proposal will be fought by the Seattle Citizenry, until the Seattle arena proposal goes away. Seattle Citizens are pissed off that the Mayor even got us involved with a new arena proposal. The NBA needs to use Key Arena, pay for its own arena, or the NBA needs to stay away from Seattle. Seattle does not wish to pay welfare to wealthy individuals or the NBA.

  11. That’s true, Neil, but only until the next TV contract(s) are negotiated. While TV money is a much greater percentage of total revenues now than it was in the 70s, over the long term it still “pays” leagues to expand even if it does mean dividing shared revenue among more partners.

  12. This press conference doesn’t seem to be going Sacramento’s way.

    I’ll be really surprised if this team doesn’t relocate.

  13. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/letter-maloofs-favor-seattles-deal-172533255–nba.html

    This came out today as the Maloofs have major concerns about the Sacramento group and this email was sent with Mastrov and Randadive copied on it.

    I was correct on my thinking the Sacramento group does not want to pay what the Seattle group is offering. The agreement with Hansen allows for “back up” offers just in case the NBA votes down the Seattle group.

    The Sacramento group insists they terminate the deal with Seattle first before they go into a binding agreement……You wonder why?

    The Maloofs stated if they did that they would in “breach of contract and cost them the ”leverage to aggressively renegotiate terms in the event the existing agreement is terminated.” Plus Hansen could turn around and sue them big time.

    What does that tell you? It tells you that the Sacramento group flat refuses to pay the Seattle offer and wants to start negotiations over on their terms to get a better price.

    Why not submit a “back up offer” in binding termsif the Seattle group is OK with that? It proves my theory in stone that the Sacramento group refuses to pay the price Seattle is because the 550M number is based on a Seattle franchise not a Sacramento franchise.

    The Sacramento group is trying to create leverage when they should know by now to “put up or shut up” and match the Seattle offer at this point when it is allowable under the current Hansen-Maloof agreement.

    It is over for Sacramento and this proves it and the Maloofs now refuse to continue any further dialogue with the Sacramento group because of this.

  14. Yeah, the idea that the Sac offer will be made binding only if the Maloofs formally withdraw from the Seattle offer is not a smart one. There would have to be something major for the Maloofs in that, such as a binding agreement that Hansen be made whole, along with the Maloofs. So Hansen would get all his money back, plus some more, and the Maloofs would be guaranteed the same net they would have with the Hansen deal.

    I think the Sac group is now back to praying for 8 votes to reject the Hansen offer. They could surprise us all on that one. I don’t believe the vote will be 30-0. On the other hand, I also don’t think they’ll have under 23 votes. I guess I can see 26, but not 23.

    Something really major will have to happen between now and next week to stop this. Seattle has all the momentum.

    But I do think it will come with an expansion deal for Sac, within 4 years, if Sacramento can build an arena. And I hate that, because I bet that arena would be 100% taxpayer funded; the current term sheet will die once the partners listed on it pull out one by one.

  15. This just in, Stern thinks Daniels is inaccurate.
    http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/04/19/the-one-fund.nba/index.html

  16. And just past 8 minutes, Stern confirms that they’ve improved lunch so the board members stays longer. Neil-strodamus!
    http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/04/19/stern-board-of-governors-statement.nba

  17. http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/04/19/stern-kings-question.nba Oops, that’s the appropriate link for my comment involving Daniels and Stern.

  18. MikeM, but if they’re examining relocation, mainly, then Hansen’s offer vs Sac’s is a secondary concern.

    Q. Could you or Adam just clarify what exactly the owners will be voting on? Will they vote first on the proposed transfer of ownership to the Seattle group, and if approved then vote on relocation? And if not, then what?
    STERN: Yeah, we’ve never had a situation like this before. And we’re working out with the committee the working model. And for us the linchpin seems to be ‑‑ and I think the committee agrees or the committee directs that the first issue is whether we’re prepared to authorize the team to move. That will be the first order of the day.

  19. If the NBA shoots down the Hansen offer without proper merit a big lawsuit will be filed by the Maloofs and the Hansen group together….It will be ugly.

    Relocation only takes 16 out of 30 votes….While the sale takes 23 out of 30. That shows the best bet Sacramento has if they shoot down the sale since relocation only requires a simple majority.

  20. There have been so many threats of lawsuits from Hansen, and Maloof, supporters that Hansen must be having his payed PR dispensing the threats. If I were the BOG, I would refuse a sale to Hansen based upon Hansen’s threat of lawsuits. Hansen may be used to bullying people around, and many people kiss the butts of wealthy people, and I am sure Hansen is used to that. Now Hansen runs into people that he can’t bully, and who won’t kiss his butt, so he cries lawsuits. Having Hansen PR dispense the lawsuit talk is in actuality Hansen threatening lawsuits. If I were the NBA, I would not want a person like Hansen involved with the NBA.

    Anyway, Approve the sale, disapprove the relocation. See if Hansen is so eager to buy a team that won’t be moved.

  21. Jhande, don’t confuse blog commenters as being representatives of Hansen’s. Hansen has been keeping mum in the press.

  22. I think you’re just being silly now, jhande.

    So far, Hansen has successfully defended two lawsuits. And Hansen has sued… Who now, exactly?

  23. I think the lawsuit was against the city’s process, not Hansen’s company as a defendant. Both have been dismissed as being too early to show harm or “a MOU setting the terms of a transaction document is not a binding action”. In the case of the later, even the Seattle mayor was saying it wasn’t ripe yet (implying that with some more time, the agreement would be ready for challenge).

  24. I have watched Hansen PR dispensed that Hansen would give the land to Seattle. I have watched as Hansen payed PR dispensed that the arena would be a gift to Seattle. Hansen payed websites, and even had the Mayor saying this.

    It took almost two months after the Arena Principles came out to convince people that the arena was not a gift, and that the land was not being given to Seattle. Then, it took several more months to convince people that the arena would receive Seattle Public Funds, because the Hansen websites dispensed the information that no public funds would be used.

    Then the MOU came out and it took several months to convince people that Seattle tax/fee income would be diverted to the arena proposal; because the Hansen websites, and the Mayor had been telling people “if you don’t go, you won’t pay”. Then there was the Hansen PR dispensed idea that the Sodo district was an official, legal, Stadium District; people still believe this; well, there is no legal Stadium District in Seattle.
    The PR misinformation list goes on.

    Anyway, this Hansen lawsuit talk has appeared in the same manner as the other PR misinformation. It would not suprise me if Hansen had this lawsuit talk dispensed.

  25. Sacramento has NO plans for a new arena…the Seattle plans and drawings have been widely circulated for some time

    Sacramento has these nebulous drawings of an arena inside an existing multi-story shopping mall…

    Building inside an existing structure while some of that structure remains is a construction NIGHTMARE…and takes countless hours of study by Structural and every other kind of Engineer known to mankind…and OBVIOUSLY building inside an existing structure means tearing down part of that structure to reconstruct something new which is ABSURDLY expensive…

    It would be cheaper in Sacramento to tear down everything and build anew downtown…

    Where exactly are all the Structural Studies for all this expensive new work? Where are the exiting studies for this new work? Arriving at and leaving this new structure inside an existing multi-story building is going to be a NIGHTMARE to work out and will take countless hours of study and an endless supply of cash…

    Have we even got to the Soils Engineering requirements yet? This entire boondoggle is going to be built on a FLOOD PLANE…

    The entire downtown shopping center was rebuilt around 1990 by a well respected LA architect for 150 million…quite a bit paid for by the City of Sacramento Redevelopment…it has gone bust…this is just another scheme to fix a much trouble downtown to which there is NO solution since Sacramento lacks a viable business community downtown…hence the lack of private money in Sacramento for this arena…

  26. Tsunami hits seattle simulation.
    http://youtu.be/n2AGlhuCQ-A
    The SoDo site is just south of the white dot (kingdome, wow that’s an old basemap) that’s along the right edge of the video.

    Is downtown Sacramento in a flood plain ? I know the flood maps have changed quite a bit in that area since the 1990s but I thought the current Natomas site was the one with the flood concerns, not downtown.

  27. Also, Sac would raze a large portion of the mall and build on bare ground. I’m not sure why you think otherwise.

    Hansen’s sodo site has a functioning railline 30 ft to the east, a major arterial 15 ft to the west, the entrance for the main garage for the Mariners stadium to the north. As evidenced by Hansen carving an access tunnel through the whole east side of his arena to access the garage to the north, I think he’s got at least equal issues with the site being a difficult location.

  28. Hansen won’t be suing anyone (with the possible exception of his own legal team depending on how things turn out) if he ever wants to be a member of the NBA owners club.

    Neither will the Maloofs, unless they’d like to be bound to own (and fund personally as and when necessary, as required under their franchise ownership agreement) the Kings in the existing arena in Sacramento indefinitely.

    Fans can dream about whatever outcome they want. The NBA has discretionary control over this process.

  29. ChefJoe:

    Stern is being a bit tongue in cheek there… the Vancouver situation was very similar, with the exception that there weren’t many “local” buyers interested.

    In that event, the NBA decided the two matters (sale and relocation) separately (if you believe the press releases). Heisley bought and owned the Vancouver Grizzlies. “Not very long after”, he applied to move them to Memphis (as many people expected him to).

    Everyone can believe the NBA BoG had no clue that Heisley might want to move the team when they approved his ownership if they like. But the reality is rather different. Heisley was moving the club… perhaps the only matter in question was where to.

    If it comes right down to it, it will be interesting to see if Hansen/Ballmer are willing to do the same… purchase the Kings and operate them in Sacramento for a year or so to see if the local guys can get a deal together? Or would they target another franchise (or do a deal with Stern for an expansion club) to become the new Sonics?

    My gut feeling is that the NBA very much wants to approve the sale and relocation of the club. They also would very much like to trade up as far as owners go (Hansen in, Magoofs out). But as Neil notes in the original article, it “pays” the league to see what Sac, in desperation, might be willing to give up in order to keep the Kings (if not the Maloofs).

  30. I was thinking more about Bill Laurie’s bid to own the Vancouver Grizzlies. He ended up paying more money to McCaw be let out of his binding deal when it became clear the NBA didn’t want the franchise to relocate (the transaction document was recalled shortly before the vote was to happen). Sept 1999 to Jan 2000 were when things were going down on that deal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Grizzlies_relocation_to_Memphis

  31. I still think the NBA is going to start to compare business models and who will be more likely to pay into revenue sharing. Arena operating expenses are deductible. The Kings were paying into revenue pools a decade ago. Hansen’s arena, with its lower public subsidy, may be a bit too likely to dip into “additional rent due” which gets deducted from revenue sharing.

  32. If the league was wanting to stay in Sac, they wouldn’t even consider the Seattle group. It’s a bad situation for Sacramento, but I like geography and geopolitics, and Sac will still exist to me. Sorry, Neil for wasting your time, and to jhande. I don’t say things looking to hurt anyone, just consider it ribbing, like at the pub. Nothing anyone can say bothers me, so bring it on.

  33. jhandle do you have any support for your claims? You have a lot of accusations but that is not what I am reading in the Seattle press so would love to have some supporting docs.

  34. Hansen’s main Seattle lobbyist was Lynn Clawdon, former mayor Royer’s wife. http://www2.seattle.gov/ethics/eldata/filings/popfiling.asp?prguid=715CF97B-24B5-4981-977A-70D5151818B8

    The arena rally he put on had heavy additional sponsorship by Clear Channel affiliated radio stations (KUBE, KISS, KJR) who put their logos on those yellow signs to “Save Our Sonics” . “Sonics the Kings” wasn’t catchy enough a slogan.

  35. All of downtown/midtown Sacramento is in a Flood Zone…

    All the old houses (the only good thing about Sacramento besides the trees) have what is called flood basements, which means the existing house in 8 to 10 feet off the ground…the downstairs have most recently been turned into apartments with low ceilings…

    The entire downtown/midtown Sacramento is silt deposited by either the American or Sacramento Rivers which do flood and will again no matter how many dams they build…matter of time…just like New Orleans only this time the rain comes from the mountains with the rivers…there has been a flood requirement to raise all living areas at least 3 feet above curb heights and for commercial business’ to have flood resistant doors/windows if located on grade…flood requirements killed by corrupt politicians…

    Building a new structure inside the existing mishmash of stuff is going to be mindlessly expensive…cash pit…the existing arena was built out by the rice fields in the middle of nowhere…and has adequate size and is acceptable to the NCAA for tournament games…ARCO is just ugly and needs updating…but the structure is there even if badly placed…

    The entire Sacramento deal is a mindless boondoggle…and cash pit…Sacramento might just as well pile their money (what little they have) up and have a big fire…SaveMart (Modesto grocery chain) has had to raise money to keep the swimming pools open for the kids in Sacramento…and if that doesn’t grab your attention, nothing will…

  36. “The Seattle arena MOU does not have final approval.” I agree it is non-binding but from a process standpoint, I thought it was approved.
    “The Seattle arena proposal is no further along than the Sacramento proposal.” Hansen has the land procured but Sac does not…correct?
    “I don’t know much about Sacramento; but the Seattle arena proposal will continue to have litigation filed against it, and the Seattle arena proposal will cost politicians many votes.”
    “The Seattle arena proposal will be fought by the Seattle Citizenry, until the Seattle arena proposal goes away. Seattle Citizens are pissed off that the Mayor even got us involved with a new arena proposal.”
    “Then there was the Hansen PR dispensed idea that the Sodo district was an official, legal, Stadium District; people still believe this; well, there is no legal Stadium District in Seattle.”
    “There have been so many threats of lawsuits from Hansen, and Maloof, supporters that Hansen must be having his payed PR dispensing the threats.”
    “Now Hansen runs into people that he can’t bully, and who won’t kiss his butt, so he cries lawsuits. Having Hansen PR dispense the lawsuit talk is in actuality Hansen threatening lawsuits.

    I’m just looking for supporting documentation vs a forum post.

  37. Hansen doesn’t have the land for the street running through the middle of his arena. He hasn’t even filed for the street vacation. The Seattle City Council (and King County Council) both have to give a final approval vote post-EIS before final transaction documents get drawn up… and those have their own vote to approve.

    Neil entertains us Seattle and Sacramento posters, but with a one-URL limit before moderation in each post, you guys may want to exchange e-mails if you want to provide references to each other.

  38. Sacramento political consultant Tab Berg has released a poll on voter support for a referendum on the arena and voter support for using public funding- key takeaways: the poll shows support for a referendum, too close to call on support for public funding, and all with a grain of salt. https://twitter.com/tabberg

  39. Sounds like Seattle, kind of. There’s no doubt that some people like basketball and would be happy to have a team here, but when it comes to the financing, even with safeguards, those polled were 63% opposed to the financing where there was any risk to the general fund while only 30% of Seattle voters polled said the benefits outweighed the risk that taxpayers might actually have to pay something. General Obligation bonds and 5 of 30 year personal guarantee still puts the general fund at some risk.

    Add to that, that taxpayers will be paying Hansen’s property tax bill and the city uses that money to pay arena bonds, so there is some public taxpayer money going into it.

    Of course, Seattle politicians think the public can’t be bothered with a vote on it.

    http://content.clearchannel.com/cc-common/mlib/645/05/645_1337797786.pdf

  40. Boy, it’s a little too quiet on the Sacramento front.

    Anyway, just for fun:

    http://www.sactownroyalty.com/2013/4/22/4253262/a-good-week-for-kings-fans

    Because, you see, now these things are called “partnerships”, and that’s why the NBA is supposed to favor them. Now that there’s really less of an obligation to help out if things go south.

    “Hey, one of the partners is doing so well! Sorry it’s not working for you guys, though. Better luck next time!”.

    And I fear that argument works with the rest of the owners. Actually, “Fear” isn’t quite right. “Disgusted to no end whatsoever. How do I get to Canada from here?” is more like it.

  41. they already had a “poll” in Sacramento…it was called measure Q and R…and wait just a minute…I think, well I think, Well I think that the public voted against public funding the arena and the NBA something like 80%…maybe 2006…

    that was just after the Grand Jury basically said John Dangberg was pretty much a lying nogoodnick (he now leads this current arena deal) and a Federal Judge ordered that Sac had to open it’s books to the public (small wonder? Sac was trying to keep everything secret)…

    That’s when the Magoofs told the public that they were contributing basically zilch and needed all the parking, bar and restaurant revenue to even break even with the low life money losing Queens…

    BUT THE BEST IS, NOW SACRAMENTO GOVERNMENT CAN NOT EVEN KEEP THE SWIMMING POOLS OPEN FOR THE KIDS…Sacramento has to rely on a Modest Grocery Store Chain….

    And that should really impress investors and the NBA…if they are not too stupid to comprehend

  42. We had a poll in Seattle called I-91. 74% voted in favor of it.

    http://www2.seattle.gov/ethics/vg/20061107/sportssf.htm
    “Yes on 91” says there are more important things than a new stadium for wealthy, out-of-state Sonics owners, such as keeping schools open, affordable housing, health care, lower taxes, roads and transit, and real economic development.

    “Yes on 91” is supported by the King County Democrats; Citizens for More Important Things; 24,000 I-91 signers from every Seattle neighborhood; 43rd District Democrats; SEIU 775, the long-term care workers union; and many others.

    “Yes on I-91” means the Sonics pay their own way. That after all expenses, including tax subsidies, the City of Seattle receives ‘fair value’ on its stadium investments. The last owners earned about 72% on their Sonics investment. Shouldn’t taxpayers at least earn ‘fair value’ on ours?

    “Yes on I-91” sends a powerful message to politicians in Seattle, King County, and Olympia that voters are fed up with tax subsidies for new stadiums.

    “Yes on I-91” helps economic development. Studies show that the Sonics have a limited economic impact on Seattle, that most money spent at pro-sports games is discretionary and would otherwise be spent elsewhere in our region. With “fair value” rent, the Sonics contribute positively to the economy.

    “Yes on I-91” means the City can negotiate with professional sports teams. The Washington State Constitution forbids the lending of public funds to private, for-profit enterprises. Recent Supreme Court rulings allow such investment, provided the City obtains ‘fair value’, which “Yes on I-91” simply defines.

    “Yes on 91” stops pro-sports tax subsidies. Sonics player earnings average $3.2 million per year, yet the team says it is losing money, demands a new KeyArena, then threatens to leave town. As it is, many of us cannot afford to take our families to Sonics games. Regardless, “Yes on 91” simply requires ‘fair value’ for taxpayers.

    “Yes on 91” makes sure team owners don’t leave Seattle taxpayers with another stadium bill. Even if the Sonics leave, Seattle taxpayers must pay the remaining debt for the last rebuild of KeyArena, a remodel the Sonics demanded. “Yes on I-91” says simply, never again.

    The Four Most Important Reasons to Vote “Yes on I-91”

    “Yes on I 91” stops tax subsidies for pro-sports teams.

    “Yes on I-91” makes the Sonics pay their own way.

    “Yes on I-91” says education, health care, and transportation are more important than a new stadium.

    “Yes on I-91” says voters are fed up with tax subsidies for pro-sports stadiums.

    STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY: Nick Licata, Seattle City Councilmember; David Rolf, President, SEIU Local 775; Susan Sheary, Chair, King County Democratic Central Committee.

  43. - Although I-91 was well-intended, it’s too bad it was written on construction paper, using Crayolas.

  44. Sure, but if you want to use it as a gauge of how voters view helping the NBA in Seattle… there is is. 74 to 26% If you take a poll, we get 63 to 30%. NBA fans in Seattle know that even this lightly subsidized arena proposal might not pass if put to a public vote.

  45. And, considering we’ve been told that the current MOU isn’t binding, I suspect any referendum campaigns in Seattle would have been dismissed as being too early as well. Stern, a lawyer, knows all too well that both projects could get sidelined if put to a vote 6 months from now. The question probably asked behind closed doors is, could you still complete the arena buildout if public dollars were removed. That’s a tough one to answer… and may ultimately favor the incumbent with the team. Ballmer has tons of money, but even he probably has a maximum amount he’s willing to throw in.

  46. This could easily turn into something I bet Neil does not want — a back-and-forth. So I’ll respond by saying this: Probably close to 100% of arena deals would be rejected by voters if the public got to vote on them. Sacramento, Seattle, San Francisco… Does not matter.

    The majority of people oppose these deals, and the majority of people are getting this right. You’re seeing the reason KJ is avoiding a vote — he knows he’d lose.

    However, if you want to compare deals, Seattle’s deal is way better than Sac’s. Carmichael Dave’s argument that Sacramento is at an advantage because we’re “partnering” while Seattle is “lending” completely disgusts me. “Wow, our new policy is: Always go with the larger gift!”. Sickening.

  47. I imagine Neil doesn’t get nearly enough ad revenue from this site to be pleased by how “Kings heavy” it has become lately. It could, however, make for an interesting tidbit if it gets revised/updated again.

    But, yes, in a city with I-91 that already sent the NBA packing due to excessive handout demands just 5 years ago, even our local politicians wouldn’t sign onto a deal deemed too generous with public funds. They’re smart enough to be couching their demands behind the guise of “it would be repaid with new revenues generated by the arena” despite the actual business plan of Hansen never being reviewed by anyone who reports to the city council and the Seattle-predicted new tax revenues being only half of the bond payments Hansen needs to make. Additionally, after Ballmer came up short at the state level last time, they didn’t even bother putting it to the state legislature (where Seattle sports complexes poll even worse in past elections).

  48. Did I miss something on the Kings? Sorry, been fighting a bad cold, haven’t gotten to today’s updates yet.

  49. Yeah, not much going on so far as I can tell. It’s got to heat-up again, soon. I figure they would love to have this resolved before the Draft Lottery on May 21. Who knows? The Grizzlies were still in between Vancouver and somewhere, even during the draft. The league just called them the “Grizzlies” leaving off the city name. “…with the third pick the Grizzlies select…”

  50. Not much, Neil. My Sacramento Bee looked very thin this morning. Basically, the opposition is gearing up- Tab Berg (a Sacramento-based political consultant, we have a lot of those) released a poll showing a majority want a referendum and the Attorneys who threatened a lawsuit say that the City hasn’t been forthcoming on documents they requested. And Sacramento is pursuing Carmichael Dave’s economic policies.

  51. Oh, and we all hope you’re feeling better soon. Sergio just texted me, demanding that I say this. He called my phone “puny.” Sniff.

  52. JB, Separate judges in two separate cases have ruled that the Seattle arena does not have approval, and that there is no binding agreement to build the proposed arena. “Judge Rejects Case Challenging Seattle Arena Deal” by Gene Johnson on 22 Feb 2013 at the Seattle Times; and “Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Proposed Sodo Arena” by Lynn Thompson on 12 Apr 2013 at the Seattle Times. There is no approval of Seattle financing an arena.

    There is no approval for an arena in Seattle, and there is no approval for an arena in Sacramento. That makes the Seattle proposal no further along than the Sacramento proposal. That Hansen bought some land is no matter as the Hansen land site has not been chosen as the site for any Seattle proposed arena. Other sites are being assessed currently. So, the Hansen land is a moot point.

    One of the lawsuits (the one brought by the ILWU) against the arena is on appeal. The individuals who brought the I-91 lawsuit say they will refile the suit, if the arena proposal is approved. There are other suits that will appear. The EIS will more than likely engender lawsuits. There are plans for further I-91 lawsuits; but those plans are in a lockbox. Loose lips sink ships. “Longshore Union to Appeal Seattle Arena Lawsuit” by the AP on 04 Mar 2013 at the Seattle Times.

    Costing the politicians votes is based upon the 78% of Seattle Citizens who “Poll: Loss of Sonics Won’t Bother Most People in Seattle” by Johnathan Martin on 04 Jul 2008 at the Seattle Times; and by the 74% of Seattle voters who voted for I-91; and the most recent Elway poll which showed that 2 out of 3 area residents were against the Hansen arena proposal, “Voters Like Seattle Arena Idea, but Not Paying for It, Poll Shows” by Lynn Thompson on 22 May 2012 at the Seattle Times.

    The polls, votes, and lawsuits show the Seattle Citizenry to be against this proposal. There are many Citizens actively working against the proposal currently, and the proposal is not even approved. Upon approval Citizens will fight against the proposal. Citizen driven legislation, further lawsuits, and political action will ensue. That is the demonstrated (see reaction to Mariners stadium, and Seahawk stadium proposals) action that happens in Seattle in regards to publicly financed professional sports facilities.

    As for things like the “Stadium District” lie being dispensed by Hansen’s websites, and PR. You would need to go back and review the websites SonicsArena (which is Hansen’s site), some of the Seattle fansites, the comment sections at Seattle Times on arena issues, pronouncements by the Mayor, and quotes from Hansen. You will see how certain phrases, and concepts appear in disparate sources at the same time. That is an attempt to engineer the parameters of dialogue, and is a PR trick. So, you can read back through over a years worth of quotes, announcements, article, and comments and see what you think, or you can believe me on this, or not. I have researched this arena proposal since the Hansen-Mayor secret meetings were initially disclosed on 09 Dec 2011. So, on the PR, you will have to start reading.

  53. In Seattle’s case they have a site that is far closer to being ready than Sacramento. The big key here is in Seattle’s case Hansen has agreed to pay all cost overruns thus limiting any public exposure to the process.

    While in Sacramento’s case the general fund will pick up the tab if the cost goes over. You don’t think this will need to go to a vote?

    How is it the Sacramento site was deemed unfeasible in 2004 and now all of a sudden works and has gone down in price? Make zero sense.

    People do not understand the reason why the Maloofs backed out of the deal they had in place last year with Sacramento was because when they asked detailed questions about the arena the city council blew them off thinking it was not important.

    When building anything anywhere the devil is in the details. Hansen has worked through most of those with the Seattle city council while Sacramento has not with the possible new ownership group even.

    The fact the Sacramento group refuses to put in a binding offer with the Maloofs assuming the NBA controls everything shows what their true position is. Their take is pray for Hansen to be rejected and lower the price $100M and take the Maloofs to the cleaners….not going to happen.

    The NBA does not have an anti-trust exemption and must play by anti-trust law. This is not MLB baseball.

    Therefore the NBA has to prove why beyond “rule of reason” why the team cannot move to Seattle and be owned by Hansen and Ballmer. The NFL lost to the Raiders big in a similar situation and so did the NBA to the Clippers in the past.

    Now if the Sacramento group put in a binding back up offer that matched Hansen that would change things….But that is not the case because who in their right mind would pay $550M for a team that is not worth $375M in Sacramento?

    Game over…..

  54. Thanks jhandle for the latest detailed posts. I am current on all those items and your post helps me understand your logic. It’s great to get someone else’s perspective on the same news that might be differently than your own…so I do appreciate you taking the time to put that post together. Right or wrong I interpret the news & information differently. i.e. even appeals is further down the process than the original lawsuit, owning land of proposed sight is more progress in Seattle than not owning all land of proposed sight in Sacramento, Costing politicians votes if everyone running for Mayor with a shot was pro arena. Not looking to debate just sharing rather quickly my interpretation of the items you mentioned.

    I will definitely look into the Stadium District stuff you mentioned as I know I’ve heard local city council members use that term a lot and could have sworn I saw the diagram on the City of Seattle website…which doesn’t make it true.

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