Let me preface this by reiterating that I am not a huge Kings fan. I can’t remember the last time I went to a game, and honestly, they were free tickets when I did go. I’m cheap, what can I say.
Let me also state for the record that I absolutely HATE that the Maloof family is going to get way too much money for this team no matter if it’s from the Seattle group, or the Sacramento group. They aren’t valued at nearly what they will get, thanks to Seattle’s absolute desperation to bring a team to their city inflating the price. And the Maloof’s unwarranted animosity towards Sacramento to go behind our backs not once, but twice to move this team with out even giving Sacramento a chance is asinine. This city LOVES their team. They LOVED the Maloof’s until they stopped spending any money to put a good product on the floor and started courting Anaheim. Undying, unfiltered, and frankly undeserved LOVE.
I know people that are opposed to this Entertainment & Sports Complex (aka ESC) or “Arena” deal have their concerns. But the biggest argument seems to continually be that the money needs to go to schools, the fire department, and the police department. Schools and public safety A) are already funded by the general fund and other means, none of which are being used for this venture B) are not income generators and C) already get so much money that is mismanaged. THAT is where the anti-ESC efforts should lie. FIX the systems that are so top heavy that the people that make the biggest impact (teachers, officers, fire fighters) get the smallest salaries. They don’t need more money thrown at them, they need FIXING.
The city of Sacramento is investing in the ESC only. Not the Kings. There are private investors that are bidding on keeping the Kings here. The only way it affects the ESC is the fact that Sacramento needs an anchor tenant to make the ESC a reality. And the reality that most people miss is that the Kings only play 41 home games. That leaves 324 days of the year that the venue can be booked for other events like concerts, rodeos, ice shows, concerts, conventions, etc.
My biggest concern? My only REAL concern? The Maloof’s hate Sacramento. Whether it is a personal issue with Mayor Kevin Johnson, or just a childish “taking our ball and going home” spoiled rich child mentality, my ONLY fear in this deal is that if the deal is approved, and the NBA votes in favor of the Maloof’s selling to Sacramento vs. Seattle… What happens if the Maloof’s won’t rent the current arena to the Kings while the ESC is being built? That is their building, they own it. What happens then? Where do the Kings play in the interim?
But let’s focus on the positives, shall we?!
K Street has been a struggling area in this town for decades. It is blighted with vacancies and homeless that keep anyone from wanting to invest in the area and keeps citizens from coming downtown after the work days end. They have tried and tried but nothing seems to work. This ESC will bring people and money back downtown.
Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Jobs saved for the majority of people that work at the current arena including companies that have contracts tied to the arena and the team like catering, janitorial, TV and radio contracts, etc. Jobs created in the design, engineering, and building of this new venue. Jobs created in building and running of new hotels, stores, and restaurants that will want to be near the new ESC.
Tax monies coming back to the city: sales taxes, payroll taxes, property and hotel taxes. All are monies that will come into Sacramento that is currently not being generated on the empty sad K Street corridor.
With a state of the art ESC, new hotels, shops, restaurants and bars downtown, we will become more attractive to larger conventions and events. Political conventions held in the actual capitol of California, instead of southern California, can you EVEN imagine?!
Downtown venues work. Look at cities like San Francisco, Houston and Phoenix. I am only using these examples because I have actually been there and seen what great downtown areas they have, thanks in part or whole to baseball fields and sports complexes. Heck, even on a smaller scale look at what Raley Field has done to the river front here in Sacramento. We now have one! On BOTH sides of the river! What better way to spend a summer evening that going to dinner in Old Sacramento then walking across the Tower Bridge to catch a River Cats game. Good fun for the old, the young, the families, all alike!
As an outsider looking in, this is what I see: A billion dollar total investment between the purchasing of the team (no city involvement) and the building of a state of the art multi-purpose complex. Of the billion dollars, approximately ¼ will be funded by the city of Sacramento between leasing agreements on parking structures, a use tax on every ticket sold at said complex, etc (not the general fund). Yes it is a lot of money. But what the city will be getting back will far exceed that investment.
Four millionaires believe in this project and most millionaires are not in the business of losing money. Even elected officials who were adamantly opposed to Kings/ESC ventures in the past have voted in favor of this one, why? Because it’s a good one. A solid one. The potential is endless for the Kings, downtown Sacramento, and Sacramento as a whole.
Like I said, I don’t go to games, I probably won’t start going to games, but I do look forward to having new restaurants and clubs to spend my money at. My teeny tiny disposable budget at.
So in the now sound-bit-to-death words of Mayor Kevin Johnson– “Let’s do it Sacramento!”