SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – For the first time in two years, the president of arena operator AEG spoke publicly Tuesday about why the company is investing millions in a new $391 million Sacramento sports and entertainment complex downtown.
Representatives from AEG were in town meeting with the Maloofs and Mayor Kevin Johnson.
“Don’t ask me about the arena. I’m not the arena spokesperson, but it’s going well,” Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof told CBS13 during the team’s win over Memphis on Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, the head of the company said AEG is ready to invest nearly $60 million in the new arena because AEG believes Sacramento is the best NBA market in the country.
“A lot of people in the industry think we’re wrong here, they’re betting against us with this Sacramento investment,” Tim Leiweke said. “We are willing to bet on Sacramento. We’ve never failed with an arena, ever, and it’s not going to start here. We believe in this community.”
“We’re going to get this built,” he added. “We’re going to be a good citizen, a good neighbor and we will have one of the great arenas, not just in the United States, but anywhere is the world. And Sacramento will be a different community.”
He also says the project will be profitable for both AEG and the city.
“If we don’t make money, it will be the first time in AEG history,” Leiweke said.
AEG operates 130 facilities around the world. Among those are seven NBA arenas, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home to the Lakers and Clippers.
Johnson said AEG has proven to be the best at what it does in the world.
“We had to prove to AEG that Sacramento is a market worth investing in,” he said. “One year later, AEG was on board.”
Leiweke added that the Los Angeles-based company was committed to California.
“This is our home state,” Leiweke said. “We are based here, we pay taxes here and are committed to putting people in our state back to work.”
Johnson has said the downtown railyards project will add 4,000 jobs.