SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The massive marketing blitz following a relocation scare has led to increased ticket sales and a political push for a new arena, but the newly enacted NBA lockout could throw the brakes on the team’s momentum.
All league business was officially put on hold at 12:01 a.m. EDT Friday after a final meeting Thursday between NBA officials and players couldn’t reach a compromise on issues that team owners said cost them millions of dollars in the 2010 season.
“We have a huge philosophical divide,” said NBA commissioner David Stern.
The Sacramento Kings have enjoyed a huge surge of interest following months of speculation that the team would move to Anaheim, which launched a viral campaign from local fans that gained national attention and sparked a new rush to buy season tickets from fans and businesses alike.
First-time season ticket holder Joe Mette bought his tickets the same day the NBA lockout was announced and said the team has promised to refund any game that is cancelled due to the lockout.
“Hopefully they can come to an agreement,” Mette said. “I want to see the Kings.”
Sports Illustrated writer Sam Amick said the Kings will have trouble keeping up their marketing momentum due to the restrictions of the lockout, which prevent team employees and players from speaking with each other.
“They draft Jimmer Fredette, a guy with a lot of marketing hype behind him. Now all of a sudden when tomorrow comes around, you’re not going to market him,” Amick said. “You have a scenario where, say a player lives two doors down from a team employee, you’re literally not supposed to talk to that person.”
The issues at stark are so contentious that the silence could last for months, Amick added. Commissioner Stern said Thursday that the owners and players can’t agree on almost every major issue, including a proposed salary cap and revenue sharing.
The last lockout reduced the 1998-99 season to just a 50 game schedule.