Lockout turns sour, Sacramento moves forward without Kings

In the wake of an absolute dreadful day of lockout negotiations, which have left the NBA season completely in doubt, the City of Sacramento is moving forward with it’s plan to build a new entertainment and sports complex in the downtown Sacramento railyards.  According to Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee:

Officials with the city of Sacramento, the NBA, arena development group ICON/Taylor and arena operator AEG will hold their first key meeting in Dallas on Wednesday to discuss the construction of a new sports arena in the downtown railyard.

This news is huge for Sacramento and of course, a little confusing.  Where are the Kings in this discussion?  How advanced are the discussions with AEG to be the operator of a new ESC and just how much up-front money are they willing to put in to get this project started?

According to Lillis, Clay Bennett of the Oklahoma City Thunder will lead the NBA’s negotiation team.  Bennett was also the man charged with leading the relocation committee that the NBA sent to Sacramento after Mayor Kevin Johnson presented the city’s case to the NBA board of governors meetings.

There is still a ton of work to be done before we can deem this a done deal, but the city of Sacramento has gone as far as to bring in Walker Parking to consult on what I consider the “magic bullet” in the financing package.  If Sacramento can receive a substantial upfront payment in a deal to privatize parking, they can reduce the overall cost of building a new facility by reducing the debt servicing fee (interest).  Clearly there are some major risks involved with selling off a major city funding source, but there are plenty of ways in which the arena can and will replace the lost income in both the short and long term.

So big day for Sacramento, devastating day for the NBA.  It could be worse – that statement could be reversed.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.