SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Squabbling over the future of the Kings has proved maddening for loyal fans, and with city officials indicating that the NBA franchise has their sights set on relocation, frustration is at an all time high.
When KHTK radio host Carmichael Dave began asking for donations from fans to build a new arena for the Kings themselves, he sparked a grassroots movement that has swelled into promises of donations that are approaching the half-million dollar mark.
Now they just need to put their money where their mouth is.
Many of the fans at Sunday’s highly attended 106-97 victory over the Utah Jazz displayed signs and shouted slogans in support of the “Here We Build” campaign, which has earned more than $400,000 in pledges thus far.
“The reaction has been unbelievable,” Carmichael Dave said.
Dave said he knows the fan-driven campaign to build a new arena is a long shot — maybe impossible — but it serves as a sharp contrast to recent statements by Sacramento city leaders, some of whom seem to have written the team off.
“We’re not going to raise $300 million, we’re not going to raise $400 million. What we’re going to do, and have done, is raised awareness,” he said. “The people have shown the city and the Maloofs that we’re willing to roll up our sleeves and let us have the last word.”
Much of the money pledged has been through Facebook and the campaign website, leading to questions about it’s legitimacy. One commenter on the HereWeBuild.com site wrote, “ok we pledge then what? is an arena goin to be built? lol… full of crap…” [sic]
Dave said he is trying to organize a leadership team of accountants, lawyers and web designers to help turn the idea into a full fledged plan in the next few days.
“I don’t want to collect one penny of donations until people know they’ll get everything back if this fails,” he said.
The Anaheim City Council has approved a $75 million incentive package in anticipation of the Kings’ move to Southern California, and a representative for the team’s owners has registered a number of trademarks that seem to indicate that the move is imminent.
The team’s owners, the Maloof family, has until April 18 to file relocation plans with the NBA.