Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Anaheim Kings... Maybe

As a Chicago sports fan living in Sacramento, I don't have much of a vested interest in how well the Northern California teams do year to year.  Will I cheer them on if they happen to be in a position of power or quality?  Sure, why not?  I cheered on the Sacramento Kings when they were trading blows with the early 2000s LA Lakers (the Kings got knocked out every time besides that uppercut Doug Christie landed on Rick Fox- that was fantastic!)  I cheered on the SF Giants last year in the playoffs and I'm sure I'd root for the A's or Warriors if they were ever good enough for me to care.  The only requirement is that if these local teams are going against one of my Chicago teams (Sharks vs. Blackhawks) then my courtesy goes out the window.

So the fine folks of Sacramento have freaked out because of THIS ARTICLE on ESPN.com.  Now, I agree it is scary, but I (and many other folks in Sacramento) knew about this possibility months ago.  Hell, you could argue that we knew about this possibility years ago.  Without a new arena in place, the financial viability of the Sacramento Kings was in danger.  Talk of a new arena has been at the forefront of conversations that would ultimately keep the Kings in the Capital of California.

I guess I can see it both ways.  In these hard economic times, why would we allocate more of our hard earned dollars to help build a new arena in Sacramento?  The team isn't good, though they have up-and-coming stars Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.  Sports isn't the be-all end-all, right?  And why should it be?

On the other hand, is it possible that a new arena (especially a downtown arena) would re-vitalize Sacramento and help bring in more money to the community?  That is definitely possible.  Restaurants in an arena area would theoretically thrive.  A new entertainment center could bring in jobs and new business opportunities.  Couple that with the fact that Sacramento's mayor is ex-NBA star Kevin Johnson, and one would think, How can this NOT happen?

The people of Sacramento have yet to be fully on board with paying for part of a new arena and time is running out:

At this point, the Maloofs have to do what they have to do to make sure their financial investment stays afloat.  The people of Sacramento can say that they won't be "held hostage" by a sports franchise, but if the city loses the Kings, we go back to being a city without a professional franchise.  We do have the fine AAA Baseball in the River Cats, but it is not the same.  There is something about having a NBA team that keeps our city relevant.  Without our team, it would feel like our city gets bumped down a peg on the scale of how much our city matters.  I know that seems harsh and possibly exaggerated (at least, to non-sports fans) but I think it is the truth. 

Assuming that the departure of the Kings would NOT create an opening for the Oakland A's to move on up to Sacramento, I don't see any positives in the Kings leaving.  Rational minds may decide to not help the Kings out and the Kings may leave, but I'm going to have to assume that if that happens, the City of Sacramento will more than likely regret losing the team they've loved for 26 years. 


GMoney said...

From what I've heard about CA, the state is ridiculously broke so the funding would have to come mostly from the taxpayers. And I don't see that happening (anywhere actually).

Louisville seems to want a team as does Kansas City and Vegas, I hear. I think KC built a new arena recently and have nothing in it.

Tony B. said...

CA is ridiculously broke, but I guess my point would be that compared to other dumb stuff the state spends taxpayer money on, why not try to keep the Kings in Sac. Not to mention, currently Anaheim seems to be the #1 option so it's not like the Kings' financial baggage is actually leaving CA.