Sacramento City Council approves binding agreements to build new Kings arena

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson addresses the crowd following the binding arena vote. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 in favor of a public/private partnership to build a new downtown arena for the Kings.  After countless failed attempts in the past, Tuesday’s vote cemented Sacramento’s future as an NBA city.  With a new arena comes a 35-year lease agreement that includes a non-relocation clause and two five-year extensions on the back-end of the agreement.

“Today was a huge win for us,” Johnson said to the throng of press gathered outside in the City Hall courtyard following the vote. “And now we see clear sailing ahead to groundbreaking a building, brand new arena and keeping the team here for the next 35 years.  This is a big deal.”

Following the historic vote, Johnson, Kings owners Vivek Ranadivé and Mark Mastrov shared their thoughts with the media and public.

  • Johnson thanked council members for their votes.  Allen Warren, Angelique Ashby, Steve Hansen, Jay Schenirer, Bonnie Pannell and Steve Cohn voted in favor of the project alongside the mayor.  Johnson also made a point of thanking city staff for their work on the project.  City manager John Shirey and assistant city manager John Dangberg played crucial roles in constructing and negotiating the deal on the city’s behalf.
  • Johnson on Tuesday’s decision being a seminal moment in Sacramento history: “When a community makes a collective decision to work as one, to fight as one, it can only be the proudest day in the life of a mayor.  I am so proud of our community and what we’ve done.  I have never been more proud in the citizens in this community, of the business community, of labor, of the leadership all coming together for this historical moment today.  You’ve heard it said over and over – today is a defining moment in the history of Sacramento.  Yes, that is true and we would not be here without you, so please give yourself a round of applause.”
  • Ranadivé likewise thanked the mayor, council and city staff members for all their work.  “We’re truly humbled by this support ,” the Kings majority owner said.  “And we promise that we’re going to work really hard and be unrelenting in our pursuit of excellence in the arena and also the team.  We know that we’re simply custodians and the team belongs to the city, belongs to the fans.”
  • Final message from Ranadivé to the fans and the Sacramento community: “I just have one thing to say to you: this is your team and it is here to stay.”
  • Mastrov says he and fellow co-owner Andy Miller were both ecstatic about the results of Tuesday’s vote.  But they also acknowledged that it was just another step in a bigger/longer process. “Now we gotta build it then have an exciting day when we open it,” Mastrov said.  “But it’s going to be phenomenal arena.  Phenomenal.”
  • Mastrov on fans and people in the community coming out to rally for the cause once again: “It’s exciting to have all the support.  But what was really cool is how knowledgeable the council-members were about the opportunity and how reflective they were in their thoughts about this great endeavor that Sacramento is taking now to kind of take this step forward in the city.  It’s a pretty special night.  Pretty special night.”

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