One of my best friends wanted to know what I was smoking this week because of my choice to remain maddeningly positive about the potential Sonics return in the face of two pieces of really bad news - that David Stern had apparently been working behind the scenes for Sacramento and that the Sacramento group was apparently planning to match the Hansen bid dollar for dollar.
I admit that some doubts crept in with those developments, but I didn't stop believing.
So what have I been smoking? Nothing. To the contrary, I've been waiting for the smoke to clear because it was concealing from the general public what I've believed all along - our ownership group and their plan is better in every pertinent way than the Sacramento ownership group and their plan.
More wealth. More vision. More commitment. More meticulousness. More stability. More focus. More arena progress. More where that came from. #CHRISHASMORE
As we head into what is hopefully and likely the final week of this saga, the smoke is indeed starting to clear and information is starting to come out that justifies the mantra "In Chris we trust". It didn't seem like it a couple of days ago, but this turned out to be a great week for our fan base. Here is a synopsis.
On Friday, Chris Daniels reported the information below regarding the timeline of the proposed SoDo arena. Read his full story here.
The lawsuit challenging the arena on I-91 grounds was thrown out. The last legal hurdle that can be decided before BOG meeting.
"Hansen's group will file a Master Use Permit with the city as early as Monday, for construction of the new arena."
"Bryan Stevens, with Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, said the MUP "represents a major milestone in the permit process.""
"A source said Hansen’s group has an option to own another piece of land in SoDo, and the final price on the land acquisition may be close to $80 million."
"Hansen’s team now believes the new arena could be completed by September 2015."
Earlier in the week, Daniels reported another MAJOR development. You can read that full story here.
"A key source indicates Hansen told owners he has an agreement, as of last month, with the City of Seattle to operate Key Arena. That deal would have to be approved by the city council if league owners sign off on Hansen’s purchase of the Kings."
Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen listed the complications below for Sacramento's arena progress. Read his full story here.
"The proposed downtown site involves at least 25 parcels of land that are controlled by five independent owners."
"Two previous attempts to plan an arena at the site have been abandoned because of high costs and other complications."
"A 2004 Sacramento city cost estimate (for same location) revealed that one million square feet would be demolished and more than 1,000 jobs would be displaced."
"The same report (2004) by the city valued the "hard costs" of building an arena downtown at $559 million. The current Sacramento plan prices the same work in 2013 at the same site at $345 million."
"A 2005 Sacramento City Council report investigated the current downtown site and concluded: "This site has been previously studied and evaluated ... it offers exciting opportunities within a downtown setting yet has significant development issues. Due to its existing use as an urban shopping mall, this site is expensive to purchase and prepare for construction. Demolition and construction are difficult to complete without disruption to existing businesses. In addition, there are issues associated with historic structures. Staff believes that the costs associated with this site, as estimated by the consultant team, make it infeasible.""
Nba.com's David Aldridge offered the information below. They are BEGINNING their year long environmental review. Read his full article here.
"Sacramento announced it was officially BEGINNING THE YEAR-LONG ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REVIEW as is usually required under the California Environmental Quality Act for major projects, including the proposed $447 million arena that would be built for the Kings on the city's current Downtown Plaza site. After that process is completed, any objections to the review would have to be expedited within 175 days of the completion of the review."
MOOD OF THE OWNERS
Daniels earlier article...
"Several people with knowledge of the process said Wednesday that owners were impressed by the scope of the presentation, and several appeared to be leaning Seattle’s way."
Thomsen revealed the information below about what Seattle presented to the Board of Governors meeting earlier this month.
"The passion of Seattle to regain what was lost was displayed throughout its presentation."
"A franchise in Seattle would pay into the NBA's new revenue-sharing plan, while Sacramento would be receiving bailouts from revenue-sharing."
"The economy of Seattle is growing, while Sacramento's is shrinking."
"media rights for an NBA franchise in Seattle would be almost double the rights fees earned by Sacramento."
"Hansen's group told NBA owners that Seattle has 13 companies rated in the Fortune 1000; Sacramento has none."
"Seattle also questioned Sacramento's claim of being a one-sport market that would give all of its attention to the NBA. Seattle's presentation to NBA owners emphasized that six rival major sports franchises operate in the Bay Area with 90 miles of Sacramento. Five have their games broadcast in Sacramento -- and the 49ers, Raiders and Giants all drew larger TV ratings in Sacramento in 2012 than the Kings."
THE COMPETING BIDS
Just as we started getting reports that Sacramento planned to fully match the Hansen bid, more positive news began to come out. I'll let nba.com's David Aldridge tell it in his own words...
"In a stunning upping of the ante late Friday night, hedge fund manager Chris Hansen announced he had "voluntarily" raised his bid for the Sacramento Kings to a franchise valuation of $550 million, up $25 million from the previous franchise valuation of $525 million."
"a source directly involved in the negotiations said late Friday that the Maloofs have received no indication, written or otherwise, that the Ranadive group will match."
"Nor, the source said, had the group pledged or given written assurance it would match the $30 million non-refundable deposit that the Hansen group made to the Maloofs in January."
"Hansen, the source said, approached the Maloofs, expressing a desire to make a move that would give Seattle a definitive edge. "And Chris has more," the source said."
Most of us knew this, but Aldridge reminded us...
The Sacramento group changed its players this week, with grocery magnate Ron Burkle dropping out of the team/arena bid after a potential conflict of interest with one of Burkle's holdings was discovered.
REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORK
Daniels report from earlier in the week revealed some very exciting information. How could the BOG not be partially swayed by the following...
"Sources also said Hansen has now put a price tag on potential Regional Television Network revenues in Seattle – more than $40 million dollars a year, or more than 80 percent more than what was estimated for Sacramento in a like deal. The number was used to illustrate the support for an NBA franchise and potential to pay down debt associated with construction of a new arena."