During his State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle will be the equity investors that fans have been waiting for, in a bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
According to Johnson, Mastrov – Founder of 24-Hour Fitness – will formally submit his counter-proposal to buy the Kings to the NBA and the Maloofs on Friday, in line with the Mayor’s self-imposed March 1st deadline. Mastrov’s proposal, partnering with 20 other local investors who each committed $1 million each, is “a full and competitive bid,” according to the Mayor. It was also announced that former King and 2013 NBA Hall Of Fame finalist Mitch Richmond was among the 20 local investors. In a press release sent out by the city immediately after the State of the City address, Mastrov said:
“This is about building a winning franchise for a winning community. Sacramento has proven time and time again to be a great NBA market. As a longtime resident of Northern California with deep ties to Sacramento too, I am thrilled to be a part of an effort to do something special for the region.”
In concert with the proposal to keeping the Sacramento Kings, Mayor Johnson also unveiled Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle as the investor and leading force behind building a new arena in downtown Sacramento. While it seems that Burkle will not be a part of the investment group proposing to buy the Kings, he will be partnering with the new owners of the Downtown Plaza, JMA Ventures LLC, to develop a sports and entertainment complex at the current Downtown Plaza location, which all but eliminates the Railyards area as a possible arena site. Through the city, Burkle released a statement:
“I am excited about the economic possibilities for the arena and for downtown Sacramento as a whole. We have an opportunity to transform downtown into a vibrant hub of economic and cultural activity that will create jobs and generate a positive economic impact for years to come.”
Mayor Johnson was equally proud to tout the strength of Sacramento’s corporate and grassroots efforts: it was announced that local corporations have pledged to support the team with $50 million in sponsorships for the first 5 seasons in a new arena. Also mentioned was the very successful HereWeBuy effort, which has 5,500+ fan pledges totaling over $23.3 million.
The NBA’s Board of Governors will meet on April 18th, where the NBA’s owners will vote on the offers from Sacramento and Seattle. Mayor Johnson has the blessing of NBA commissioner David Stern to attend that meeting and make a compelling case to keep the team in Sacramento.