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VIRGINIA BEACH (CBS13) – Reports have surfaced saying the Sacramento Kings could be moving to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
According to an article posted on the website of Norfolk-based Hampton Roads Business Journal, Virginia Beach officials and the Maloof family are expected to announce the move on Wednesday.
The article also says the Maloofs and Comcast-Specatcor executives will be at a Virginia Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday to propose moving the team to the resort city and to discuss building a new arena. However, Kings co-owner Joe Maloof denied having discussions with the city.
“We haven’t talked to Virginia Beach,” Joe Maloof told CBS13.
Kings spokesman Eric Rose also wouldn’t confirm the report, but said the team has drawn interest from several cities through the years.
“The Kings organization over the last several years has been approached by numerous parties and cities interested in buying and relocating the franchise,” Rose said in a prepared statement. “The franchise is not going to discuss which cities have approached the organization and are not going to comment on every rumor. The sole focus of everyone within the Sacramento Kings organization continues to be to put a winning team on the court as we look forward to what promises to be an exciting 2012-13 NBA season.”
Rose also denied the Maloofs will be at a news conference in Virginia Beach next week.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who led efforts to get a new arena built in the downtown railyards before talks fizzled with the Maloofs, posted on his Twitter account Thursday that he’d heard nothing from the Kings about a move to Virginia City.
“I spoke w/h the NBA, neither they nor my office has been contacted by the Kings,” he tweeted. “At this point there is nothing new to report.”
The NBA also said it hadn’t heard anything from the Kings regarding moving to Virginia Beach.
“We have no information from the Kings on this matter and there has been no application for relocation,” league spokesman Tim Frank said in an email to CBS13.
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said in a statement earlier that Live Nation and Comcast had asked the city to form a partnership with the goal of building a new arena across from the existing Convention Center.
Comcast owns NBC and Global Spectrum, which operates arenas and stadiums across the country.
“Comcast, Live Nation and Global Spectrum have come to the city. They would guarantee us a professional sports team if the deal goes through,” said Sessoms.
Sessoms said he was unaware of the Hampton Roads Business Journal’s article and wouldn’t provide further comment about it.
Comcast-Spectacor spokesman Ike Richman said the company will not comment on the plans until the meeting Tuesday in Virginia Beach.
“Comcast-Spectacor, through several of our subsidiaries, and Live Nation, both of which have a substantial presence in Southeastern Virginia for many years, are always looking for new opportunities to expand our business in the area,” he wrote in an email. “We will refrain from making any comments until we are in Virginia Beach on Tuesday.”
In a phone interview with CBS12, Richman confirmed no specific team has been identified as a potential tenant.
“Despite preliminary reports, no specific professional sports team from any league has been identified as the potential tenant for this building,” he said.
The Kings have long been looking for a new arena for aging Power Balance Pavilion, the oldest arena in the NBA, but pulled out of a $391 million deal spearheaded by Johnson to build a new entertainment complex in the railyards.
Despite that, the Maloofs have said they’re committed to Sacramento long-term. They’ll at least play the 2012-13 season at Power Balance but could file for relocation in March.
The Kings pursued a move to Anaheim after the 2010-11 season but eventually decided to stay in Sacramento. Seattle is also trying to get a new arena built for the NBA to return to that city, and there has been speculation the Emerald City would go after the Kings.
Virginia Beach is a resort city on the Atlantic Ocean with a population of about 435,000. Virginia Beach-Norfolk is the third largest metropolitan area in the United States without a team in a major professional sports league but the region is the nation’s No. 43 media market. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto is No. 20.