The ground swell in Sacramento continued today as local business leaders met with Mayor Kevin Johnson, Matt Mahood, the President and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the NBA’s Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO), a group led by NBA official Chris Granger. Granger is known as the NBA’s marketing “fixer” and his presence did not go unnoticed.
Not only did the group of business owners continue to vocalize their support for the Sacramento Kings, they pulled out their checkbooks and made deposits on their earlier sponsorship pledges. Where that money is going is still in question, but Mayor Johnson wasn’t worried about semantics:
Today is another historic day in Sacramento. The NBA, the league has said, “show me the money”, and today we are doing just that, we are making a down payment on the future of the Sacramento Kings and on this being a permanent home for the Kings. That’s our commitment.
Mayor Johnson looked the part of a proud principle, standing in front of a graduating class as he called out the roster of more than 30 local businesses who answered the NBA’s call today. As part of the festivities, Matt Mahood took the mic and continued the pep talk as cameras rolled:
We put the call out to the business community and they answered, and they answered the call loud and clear. Today, they have put their money where their mouth is, demonstrating to the NBA that we are for real and here to support the NBA, support the Kings, not just this year but for many years to come. I am very proud on behalf of the Sacramento business community and I applaud all these folks for coming together and stepping up to make sure the Kings are here next year.
With momentum swinging further and further in Sacramento’s direction, Mayor Johnson continued to preach patience and confirm that no decision had been made yet, but his message is loud and clear, “This is our community fighting for our team, sending a very strong message to the relocation committee, a very strong message to the NBA, that we mean business in Sacramento.” Mayor Johnson continued later saying, “We are the only team in the playoffs that no one knows, but we are fighting for our home team like crazy and everybody else around the country is rooting for us as well.”
Next up for Mayor Johnson is the May 2nd deadline for relocation. There have been no indications as to what the Maloof family will decide to do, but the growing speculation is that they will have little choice but to accept the advice of the relocation committee. If the ball bounces Sacramento’s way, Mayor Johnson is already making plans for the next step:
If we are lucky enough to be given another year in Sacramento, then we’ve got to immediately start our new campaign for an entertainment and sports complex. We all understand that this is the regular season and if we qualify for the playoffs, the real playoffs are figuring out a way to build an arena, we’re just not there yet.
A few weeks ago, this kind of talk seemed pretty pie in the sky, but the mood has changed here in Sacramento. We have six days left before the Maloof family has to make their decision to either go forward with an attempted move to Anaheim or keep the team in Sacramento, where it has been a community rallying point for over 26 years. Things are pretty interesting here in the Capitol City.