SACRAMENTO, CA - More than 25 executives met with Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA representatives Tuesday to put down a deposit on their pledges of financial support to save the Sacramento Kings.
"We are making a down payment on the future of the Kings and making this a permanent home for the Kings," Mayor Kevin Johnson said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Johnson said they had a good meeting with the NBA affiliates. Sleep Train, AT & T, Zoom Imaging Solutions and Golden One Credit Union were just a few of the companies who offered financial support to save the Kings.
"Sleep Train is a believer in this community and we need a team to be here. We are here to support the team and bring more sports to the area," Sleep Train's Dale Carlsen said.
"This team has been the heart and soul of our company's identity for the last 20 years. We hope that our efforts are going to be fruitful. Let's keep pushing for the Kings to be here next year and in the future," Zoom Imaging Solutions' Gary Johnson said.
Each of the businesses wrote checks covering 20 percent of their total pledge.
"They told us $7 million; we raised $10 million. They wanted it in a short time; we did it even faster," Johnson said.
Johnson said he believes the people of Sacramento have done everything they could to show their commitment to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
"The NBA is pleased and they are accessing the inventory and what is available. We're in and this is a down payment to keep our commitment," Johnson said. "I met with the NBA yesterday and they said we had done everything we needed to do. All they needed was the deposits."
Senate President Pro Temp Darrell Steinberg and three other Sacramento area state lawmakers wrote a letter to the NBA asking the committee not to approve the Kings' move.
"We stand unified with our civic partners at the state, regional, city and county level to work together over the course of the next year, exploring all options, to build a new performing arts and sports arena complex that will be necessary to retain the Kings franchise here in Sacramento.
"At this time, the economic impact of the loss of such a major employer on our region, already reeling from a 12.7 % unemployment rate and a persistent recession, would be devastating."
The letter was sent the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill which requires pro-sports teams to pay-off debt before the franchise sign relocation papers with another city.
Read the letter sent to the NBA
The NBA relocation committee will be meeting between now and Monday to access the situation and the amount of money available. The final decision date is May 2 and Johnson was hopeful.
"We want to start renewing our tickets and our seats. We want to direct all that energy in a positive way," Johnson said. "If we are lucky enough to be given another year with the Kings, then we need to start our campaign to build a new sports facility.
And what about the Kings future in Anaheim?
"What's happening in Anaheim is someone else's fight. That's not our fight. We don't want to be critical of the Anaheim deal. They have every right to try to get our team and we have every right to fight for them," Johnson said.
Not all of the executives were at Tuesday's meeting, but in total 33 Sacramento businesses pledged money to equal $10 million:
- American River Packaging
- Anheuser-Busch/Markstein Beverages
- Arden Fair Mall
- Barry Katz
- Blue Diamond Growers
- Brown Construction Inc
- Burger Rehabilitation
- Buzz Oates Group of Companies
- Capitol City Escrow
- Golden 1 Credit Union
- Greenberg Traurig LLP
- Hallsten Corporation
- Jiffy Lube
- Kamilos Group
- Kevin Nagle Foundation
- Mechanics Bank
- Sac Jet
- Sacramento Rivertrain
- Sleep Train
- SPI Solar Power
- SureWest Communications
- Sutter Health
- Thunder Valley Casino
- VSP Vision Care
- Weintraub, Genshlea Chediak
- Wells Fargo
- Western Health Advantage
- Zoom Imaging Solutions, Inc.
By Michelle Ponto, News10
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