Reporting Steve Large
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – City officials confirmed Friday that major investors have requested city leaders contribute more taxpayer money to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
The closed-door arena deal discussions between city officials and possible Kings investors cracked open only slightly with official response from Sacramento City Manager John Shirey to a story CBS13 first reported on Thursday night.
Last week, investors asked for more public funding than the $255 million that was approved by the city council last year. That offer expired when the Maloofs walked out on that agreement; however, Mayor Kevin Johnson told ESPN on Thursday that the public contribution for the arena this time around could be less.
“Essentially we’re going to commit a public investment of $200 to 250 million to build that arena. Again, we know that’s a competitive advantage,” he said.
Shirey said no counteroffer was made, but said that a second talk went well. He also refuted the CBS13 report that initial talks were “rocky,” but he also didn’t say they went smoothly.
Meanwhile, in a Seattle court a union lawsuit was thrown out as lawyers tried to put a stop to a new NBA arena. It was a victory for the Chris Hansen-led Seattle investor group trying to buy the Sacramento Kings. The ruling now leaves an open path for the Kings’ possible move to Seattle.
On Friday, the Seattle investors also released new pictures of the arena they hope to build, showing the proposed arena superimposed on a photograph of the current industrial site where it will be built.
However, that ruling didn’t faze the mayor’s office.
“Keeping the Kings in Sacramento will not rise or fall with a legal ruling, but on whether the NBA will want to keep a team in a community that has shown itself time and time again to be a top performing NBA market,” Johnson said in a statement.
When a new arena financing plan is reached, it will have to be voted on by the city council.