After months of speculation that the Sacramento Kings were inevitably ditching California's capital for Anaheim, it now appears that the Maloof family's escape plan is now in shambles.
According to a report posted by Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, it now appears more and more likely that the Kings will stay in Sacramento for at least one more season. Amick formerly covered the Kings for the Sacramento Bee.
While the outcome is far from certain here, there are strong indications that the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, is facing enough opposition to the move to force it back to Sacramento. The Maloofs have already been pushed into two overtimes, as the original April 18 deadline to file for relocation was extended twice and now sits at May 2.
Part of the roadblock appears to be the proposed TV deal in Anaheim, which won't generate nearly as much revenue as Joe and Gavin Maloof had originally hoped for.
Specifically, a source with knowledge of the proposal revealed that the television rights riches that had long been seen as a major motivating factor for the Maloofs aren't quite as lucrative as they had hoped. And while it had been assumed they would attempt to fill the programming void left by the Lakers at Fox Sports West due to their recent megadeal with Time Warner that starts in 2012, two sources said that is not the case.
Meanwhile, Sacramento Mayor and ex-NBA player Kevin Johnson and the city have aggressively rallied to block a potential move and prove to the NBA that Sacramento can both economically sustain the franchise and that a new arena can be built to replace the dated Power Balance Pavilion (Formerly ARCO Arena).
The NBA's relocation committee was in Sacramento to hear the city's pitch and the meetings on Thursday are continuing today.
According to a report published in this morning's Sacramento Bee, Johnson and his team have both worked to increase corporate investors and that Comcast SportsNet California—which broadcasts Kings games—would be willing to up the Kings' TV deal provided the team stays in Sacramento.
By noon, a nearly jubilant Johnson told assembled news media downtown that the meetings were going well and NBA officials were taking the city's pitch seriously.
It was a far cry from just weeks ago, when Johnson lamented the Kings were likely to leave and that there appeared to be little the city could do about it.
"We wanted our commitment and passion to be palpable," the mayor said, standing outside the U.S. Bank Tower on Capitol Mall at noon, backed by business leaders. "The NBA has seen the best of this community."