SACRAMENTO - Sacramento City Manager John Shirey said Thursday, “it is important to get this right” and missed his self imposed deadline for a new Arena term sheet.
But he, and city leaders, felt they got a boost with the support of a new potential investor.
Shirey said Thursday, Vivek Ranadive, a Bay Area tech exec, had emerged to be the new leader of a Kings ownership group. Ranadive is a limited partner in the Golden State Warriors of the NBA.
A Twitter account, proclaiming to be of Ranadive, tweeted for the first time in months today. It said “Looking forward to supporting @KJ_MayorJohnson as we work towards keeping the @SacramentoKings where they belong. #HereWeStay” and “Excited to be a part of the revitalization of a great community and the globalization of an amazing franchise. #HereWeStay”
The City has been scrambling in recent weeks to put together a compelling bid, to present as a ‘back-up offer’ to NBA Owners. Investor Chris Hansen has already signed a purchase agreement for the Kings, and the franchise has already filed for relocation to Seattle. The team would play in Key Arena for at least two years, before moving to a new facility. NBA Owners are expected to hear from Hansen at a presentation in New York slated for April 3rd.
Shirey wanted to have a term sheet in place today, so he could give the public and the council five full days to review the proposal, before a vote next Tuesday. The item is still listed on next Tuesday’s agenda, as an item “To Be Delivered," and the city’s clerk says by law, it must be posted 72 hours in advance.
Shirey did host a town hall meeting on the topic at Sacramento City Hall, where he told people he still planned to have something to present to the Council next week. He hinted it would include a mix of public funding.
His deputy, John Dangberg, said it would involved use of city parking revenues and gate receipts. Shirey also hinted a real estate sale may be part of the deal.
They gave no specific timetable on when a term sheet may be announced. Shirey made it clear the competing offer would involve a site near the downtown mall area of Sacramento.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was unavailable for comment.
His spokesperson Ben Sosenko said the Mayor was working hard to close a deal.
“[Mayor Johnson knows] this is bigger than basketball," said Sosenko. “We all remain hopeful with the deal being negotiated.”
Opinions seem split on support for the city’s last minute shot at saving the franchise.
A group of opponents, with their hands marked the word “NO," stood outside Council chambers decrying use of public subsidies.
“We’re going to spend money on a shrine for Kevin Johnson? I don’t think so,” said Ralph Sullivan of Sacramento. He also said about Seattle, “Take them, they’re yours!”
However, Blake Ellington, co-founder of the fan group “Here We Stay” feels differently.
“Like everyone says there are a lot of details that go into this and trying to get it done,” said Ellington, “Right now we know we’re in the final stretch and there is an outcome at the end of the tunnel. If Sacramento can match the offer, then Sacramento has a strong chance.”
“Sacramento controls their own destiny,” said Ellington.