The owners of the Sacramento Kings have denied a report that they are in talks to move the NBA franchised to Virginia Beach, VA.
Unnamed sources have been quoted as saying that the Kings owners, Comcast Corporation, and concert promoter Live Nation are scheduled to arrive in Virginia Beach on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to meet with local officials about the possibility of a new stadium and moving the team to the area.
The Maloof family (George Jr., Joe, Gavin, Adrienne, and Phil), the owners of the Kings, walked away from a proposed $391 million entertainment complex that included a new stadium in Sacramento, saying that the proposal didn’t make sense for the franchise. The City of Sacramento’s Mayor, former NBA player Kevin Johnson, has made it a priority to keep the Kings in Sacramento but doesn’t trust the Maloofs. That distrust is the extent that the executive director of the committee formed to accomplish Johnson’s goal, Chris Lehane, stated that, “dealing with the Maloofs is like dealing with the North Koreans— except they are less competent”. George Maloof Jr. has said, according to The Sacramento Bee, “You can’t do a deal with somebody you don’t trust, I don’t trust him.” Referring to Johnson. The key breaking point was the Maloof’s wanting a no-collateral deal in the complex. The Maloofs had planned on moving the team to Anaheim until Johnson stepped in and tried to work a deal.
Despite the denials from the Kings, Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms wouldn’t comment on the rumors but admitted that some meetings will take place.
“Comcast, Live Nation and Global Spectrum (a Comcast-owned stadium operator) have come to the city,” he was quoted as saying in the Hampton Roads Business Journal. “They would guarantee us a professional sports team (if a deal goes through).”
Comcast also contradicted the Kings’ statement when their spokesperson told CBS13 that they wouldn’t comment until after Tuesday’s meetings, confirming that there were meetings being held.
Sources have said that Comcast will offer a 25-year lease on a new arena, contingent on naming and broadcast rights. To finance the complex, the Virginia Beach Hotel-Motel Association has indicated that it would get behind a proposed $1 increase in the area’s lodging tax.