The future of the Sacramento Kings may not lie outside of California’s capital, as Mark Mastrov, who founded 24-Hour Fitness, will headline a group of investors who will attempt to buy the team and keep it in its current city.
CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported the news via Twitter:
Johnson makes official that Mark Mastrov, 24-Hour Fitness founder, has agreed to make competing bid to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacto.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) March 1, 2013
As expected, Ron Burkle will join Mastrov in bid to keep Kings in Sacramento in a new downtown arena.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) March 1, 2013
Burkle is a multi-billionaire and Southern California native who founded Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm. He is also a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Currently, the Maloof family has an agreement to sell the franchise to a “group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family,” according to USA Today’s Sam Amick.
If this sale were to go through, the franchise would be moved to Seattle.
However, The Sacramento Observer’s Antonio Harvey reports that NBA commissioner David Stern gave Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson—a former NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns—the opportunity to put together a proposal to keep the team in the town he governs.
Harvey also notes that the Sacramento City Council voted to continue the bidding process earlier this week.
Johnson discussed the situation involving the Kings in his State of the City Address on Thursday night. Berger notes he made the following proclamation:
Johnson: "We are a city that works to keep what is ours."— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) March 1, 2013
There were rumors leading up to Johnson’s speech that Mastrov and Burkle were ready to invest in the Kings, but now that the news is official, the proposal to keep the team in Sacramento will pick up steam. With plans for a new arena and the money to build it, the city has a strong chance to hold on to its franchise.
There will surely be more bargaining before an agreement is settled upon, as lines have now been drawn in the battle over who will be the Kings’ next owner.