SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Less than a week after a deal to build a new arena to house the Sacramento Kings collapsed, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he has a Plan B.
At a City Hall news conference, Johnson said he is looking into moving forward with a downtown arena plan, even without an anchor tenant. The city would still partner with AEG, but not involve the Kings.
The Plan B arena would be smaller but could be expanded, he said.
Johnson said they might look at a professional hockey team.
The previous arena deal crumbled last week in New York City when the Maloofs, who own the Kings, said there was never a deal between the Kings, Sacramento and arena operator AEG. They raised several issues regarding the non-binding term sheets all sides discussed several weeks ago in Orlando, after which they announced that the framework of a deal was struck.
Johnson said he doesn’t expect talks with the Maloofs to resume.
“I don’t think there’s anything in play to be working with them,” he said. “I mean we were in New York, they didn’t honor the agreement. We’re at an impasse. We need to move forward.”)
Under the failed plan, Sacramento would have committed $255 toward the $391 million arena and the Maloofs would have contributed $73 million. Arena operator AEG had committed $58 million toward the project.
The mayor says he’ll need two or three weeks to see if building an arena without the Kings is even possible.
“Is it going to be a challenge? Absolutely, of course it is, but of course the best way to solve a challenge or vantage point is you talk to people who’ve done it before,” Johnson said.
And that’s AEG, which built the Sprint Center in Kansas City without an anchor tenant. Ironically, the Kings left Kansas City for Sacramento in 1985, leaving that city without an NBA team ever since.
“The Kansas city model needs to be explored,” Johnson said. “It has been proved that it can occur.”
The mayor also been talking to other investors about possibly buying the Kings if they are put up for sale, something the Maloofs say isn’t going to happen, or even bringing in an NHL team to play downtown.
The mayor says he hasn’t contacted the NHL or any teams yet, but he has done his homework saying he’s aware the Phoenix Coyotes are for sale.
One 8-year-old at the City Council meeting Tuesday night also had more than basketball on her mind.
“If we don’t get an arena I’m scared that my classmates and I won’t be able to see Disney on Ice anymore,” she said. “Don’t give up.”