Mayor Johnson to brief Sacramento regional officials on Kings issue

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 7:45 pm

Elected officials from across the region will get their first taste of the latest fight to keep the Kings in town today.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has called a morning meeting with officials from across the six-county region to update them on what is being done to prove the area is a viable market for the NBA.

The meeting is being held a day before the NBA dispatches its representatives to explore whether Sacramento or Anaheim is a more suitable home for the Kings.

"(The NBA) is going to want to know what's different this time than the previous times when we've tried to do a new entertainment and sports complex and failed, and I think there's a political will and leadership," the mayor told reporters on Tuesday.

Past attempts at building a new arena – the key element to keeping pro basketball in town – have been driven by Sacramento City Hall and city leaders. "It will be different this time," Johnson said.

An NBA attorney and the chairman of the league's relocation committee arrive in town Thursday and will be updated on progress on an arena study here, as well as the business community's commitment of $7 million in sponsorships to an NBA team. The United Auburn Indian Community is pledging $1 million of that total – $700,000 more than it is currently paying for a luxury box, a tribe spokesman confirmed Tuesday. A fan rally is also being planned.

The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, has until May 2 to ask the league's permission to move to Anaheim. The league last week extended the team's deadline to seek relocation after Johnson appeared before the NBA board of governors.

While pleased that the city has extra time to prove itself as a better fit for the Kings than Anaheim, Johnson said "by no means are we declaring victory and do we feel like we're even close to being victorious."

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, one of the elected officials who will attend today's meeting, said the Kings are "an asset to the region as a whole and they depend on the region for their support and fan base."

"It's a regional priority (keeping the team here)," he said.

Folsom Mayor Andy Morin, who also will attend the meeting with Johnson, said "just having a clear unified regional message is a great start."

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