Seattle Supersonics fans know the pain of having a beloved team ripped from their home.
Four years ago, after being a Seattle institution for 41 years, the Sonics were shanghaied to the mid-south, never to be heard from again. Northwest basketball fans were devastated and many (like myself) vowed to never watch another NBA game again.
And yet, as the Seattle City Council votes to approve a new stadium to lure an NBA and/or NHL team here, I'm probably not the only one who has a Google alert set for "Sacramento Kings, Seattle".
With no expansion in the near future, to get Seattle back into the NBA country club, one must agree to a Faustian pact: to avenge your own heart being broken, you must break another's.
So it's with a stomach churning mix of optimism and self-hatred that I read the following report out of Sacramento this morning:
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s a money meltdown for the Sacramento Kings as their biggest sponsor is splitting, and they’re not the only ones.One of the Kings’ most loyal corporate sponsors is taking a bite out of the owners’ already rickety revenue structure.Carl’s Jr. once touted them as billionaire brothers in an ad campaign, but now the fast food company tells CBS13 that its cravings for the Maloofs are over.“Carl’s Jr. is not seeking naming rights for the arena in Sacramento. While we have sponsored the Kings in the past, we will not be renewing our team sponsorship this season,” a company statement read.CBS13 has learned the Maloofs are only offering companies one-year sponsorship deals, no long-term commitments. As a result, some of the local companies who came together in a $10 million sponsorship pledge last year are also out.
Read the rest here.
One-year sponsorship deals. No long-term commitments. These sort of self-inflicted revenue wounds sound eerily familiar to Sonics fans, who remember Big Boy Bennett using the same despicable tactics to make it look like there was no support for the team in Seattle the year before they moved.
As a lifelong Sonics freak, I admit I'm excited about getting an NBA team. But as an empathetic sports fan who still feels the pain of having his team stolen away in the dead of night, this sort of story makes me more than a little queasy about our deal with the devil.
I think the best advice for anyone with any sort of tie to this situation - whether pro-Arena, anti-Arena, or indifferent - is to keep his mouth shut about Sacramento. We can all agree that when Seattle went through this b.s. half a decade ago (!) that any comment other than, "Man, this stinks" wasn't very well received. So, to Sacramento, I say:
'Deal with the devil.' C'mon, give Satan a little credit. Even he's not as slimy as the Maloofs. Hey, you sell your soul to Lucifer, he ain't gonna back out two days later because of a better deal on another soul from some kid in Gardena.
As a die hard sac fan, living in the sac area.. this absolutely stinks. It stunk for you guys, and it sucks for us. PRAY that you get another team other than sacramento though, because along with the Kings, you also get douche bag owners, like the Maloofs. They are cash poor, and will give you nothing less than a sub par team on a budget. I hope you get a team..just not ours! lol
Anonymous Sac Fan--Agreed! But there's no way that Chris Hansen would build a stadium for a team he didn't own, so unless the Maloofs sell to him (which I just don't see happening) you (and we!) are probably safe!
Or Option B: The Maloofs sell a portion of the franchise to Hansen, giving them (some of) the funds they need to pay off their massive debts.
Wait, I just broke my own rule in less than 24 hours!
This sucks, Sacramento!
I really hope Seattle fans don't get their hopes up TOO much. Even if the team were up for sale, it's not like Hansen can come in and just buy the team without giving anyone else a chance. I can think of two other billionaires off the top of my head who are not only interested in buying the team, but would want to keep them in Sacramento(yes, we do have an arena plan in place still). I could totally see the Emerald City going nuts if the Kings went up for sale, only to have someone like Ron Burkle or Manny Pangilinan put in the highest bid, and sign on to the current arena proposal. Because if there is a buyer who will keep the team in Sac, one would be forced to assume Stern and the rest of the NBA BoD would prefer to avoid relocation if at all possible.
It looks like Virginia Beach will be breaking all of our hearts.
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