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Downtown Sacramento Kings Arena Term Sheet Delayed; 3rd Whale Investor Revealed

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Steve Large Steve Large
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Golden State Warriors minority owner has been revealed as the newest investor in the Sacramento Kings.

Vivek Ranadive is now teaming up with billionaire Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov to buy and keep the NBA team in Sacramento.

But there was another delay Thursday after the arena financing deal was not revealed as promised.

Kings fans worry and wonder what will happen next after the movers and shakers in the deal to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle missed their own key deadline.

But the new money man could make all the difference in the bid to buy the team and build an arena.

Ranadive is a world-renowned engineer and founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley data software company TIBCO.

“Well like everybody else, I was surprised to hear that today but I have great trust in the mayor. And I thought about it, I think it’s a good thing. I think our whale just got bigger,” local businessman Phil Oates said.

The introduction is no sign to worry $1 million Kings investor Lisa Parker says.

“I think we’re still working out all the details,” she said.

Ranadive’s emergence was made public at the same time negotiators failed to reach their own financing deadline Thursday afternoon. There is still no downtown plaza arena term sheet for the city council to consider.

Sacramento developer David Taylor is not in the talks but is watching closely.

“I suspect that there is lots of energy being spent right now to tie this thing down right,” he said.

A source close to the negotiations says Ranadive has in fact been in talks for weeks. He is now the lead money investor in the counter bid for the Kings alongside Burkle and Mastrov. All three are now financially committing to both buying the team, and building an arena.

Despite the financing deal delay, the city held the first of its three scheduled open houses to talk about the arena.

It was standing room only at City Hall during the first of three forums to talk about the new arena. The looming deadline has some convinced the public won’t have time to have its say.

“Why don’t we get a chance to voice an opinion this time? It’s being shoved down our throats,” resident Ralph Sullivan said.

Clearly not everyone is a fan of the last-second arena deal that still isn’t done.

City Manager John Shirey kicked off the meeting, saying they had hoped to pass out copies of the long-awaited term sheet.

“We are still in negotiations,” he said.

Some fans say it’s a sign of another snag and an indicator a deal for a downtown arena may not get done in time.

Concerned fan Priscilla Barnes says her message for the city is it’s time to get your act together.

“Then there’s silence and muddling around and this is a problem and that’s a problem,” she said.

On the other hand, news of a third investor brought optimism the city could come up with the money needed to even have a shot at keeping the team in Sacramento.

Jim Ghiorso, of Crown Downtown, is one of many who say they are feeling much more optimistic with today’s news than he did 24 hours ago.

“The clock’s ticking but it was a self-imposed deadline. We didn’t make in the final hours, so we have another week or so,” Kings fan Mike Kielty said.

Long on hope, but for now, fans are still short on specifics. In the fight to keep the Kings, fans know faith only goes so far.

Open houses continue Friday and Saturday.

Important Upcoming Dates:
March 23: City council will vote on the arena deal.
March 26: Next Here We Buy game.
April 3: Seattle and Sacramento groups meeting in New York.
April 17: Last Kings Game.
April 18-19: NBA Board of Governors meeting.

Steve Large will be reporting in New York for the April 3 meeting. Follow him on twitter at @largesteven.

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