SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Kings fans have waited years for a new arena, and it could finally coming to downtown Sacramento, thanks to billionaire Ron Burkle.
During the State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson confirmed the rumors that the Pittsburgh Penguins owner is involved.
“I am proud to announce another significant partner ready to help bring that vision to life…Ron Burkle,” said Mayor Johnson.
The name is not a surprise, but Burkle’s involvement now extends to more than just the team. The grocery billionaire will play a big part in getting an arena built in Sacramento.
Mayor Johnson contends the plan to save the Kings came together in the last six weeks — ever since Seattle’s Chris Hansen struck a deal with the Maloofs to buy the Kings.
It seemed Sacramento would need to scramble to block the Hansen sale, but the mayor ran the same play he pulled off two years ago. That’s when the Maloofs were ready to bolt for Anaheim, but Johnson was able to stop the move in large part by dropping Ron Burkle’s name during the NBA Board of Governors’ meetings in 2011.
The Mayor met the grocery billionaire through Darius Anderson. But the Sacramento developer and lobbyist did more than set up a meeting. Anderson is also a part of the group that bought the downtown mall last August – the same mall that is now the potential site for a brand-new sports and entertainment complex partially funded by non other than Ron Burkle.