SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Mayor Kevin Johnson is outwardly hopeful that Sacramento won’t be long without an NBA team if the Kings move south, but fans who are leading the fight to keep the franchise say they have no hope another team would come.
Mayor Johnson is drawing comparisons between Sacramento and Charlotte, North Carolina, which lost its NBA team last decade and gained another one a short time later.
“In 2002 they lose their team, in 2004 they get a new team, and in 2005 that new team is playing in a new arena,” Johnson said.
There are a number of contrasts between Sacramento’s troubles and Charlotte.
– The North Carolina city completely financed its arena with public funds, but Sacramento voted down public financing.
– NBA Commissioner David Stern promised Charlotte a new team when their old one left, but told Sacramento last year he’d given up on building a new arena.
– Charlotte is rich with Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Lowe’s and Duke Energy. Sacramento has none.
KHTK radio host Carmichael Dave says the city has little chance of attracting a new team with a new arena.
“They’ve had 8 to 10 years to do that and they haven’t,” Dave said. “You know, getting in front of cameras and flying to New York is great and all, but we’re trying to roll up our sleeves… before it’s too late.”
Supporters of Carmichael Dave’s “Here We Build” campaign rallied in Sacramento’s Cesar Chavez Park on Tuesday to promote their efforts to raise money to finance a new arena.
“There’s no such thing as an Anaheim Royal fan base,” said Kings fan Justin Marshall, referencing the possible new name for the Sacramento Kings. “I think they had an estimated 900 people sign up for season tickets in an 18,000 seat venue. Good luck with that.”