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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - Comcast Spectacor says it would pursue a professional sports franchise and guarantee lease payments if a new arena were built in Virginia Beach, prompting speculation the company is eyeing the Sacramento Kings.

In a presentation to the Virginia Beach City Council Tuesday, Comcast Spectacor president Peter Luukko did not mention the Sacramento Kings by name, but he left little doubtthe Kings are at least one of the teams he's talking about.

"We know where there's opportunity potentially," Luukko said.

The relationship between the city of Sacramento and the owners of the Kings hit a low point in April when a deal between the city and the Maloof family to build a $391 million arena at the downtown railyards collapsed.

Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and the arena in which the Flyers and the 76ers play, proposes a roughly $350 million, 18,500 seat arena be built adjacent to the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

The arena would be operated by Comcast Spectacor subsidiary Global Spectrum, with entertainment bookings provided by Live Nation.

Luukko said the company would guarantee lease payments and operating costs for 25 years, eliminating any financial risk to the city.

The presentation did not discuss how the arena would be financed.

While the Kings have refused to address relocationrumors, team spokesman Troy Hanson did say there was nothing imminent.

His statement came in response to published reports last week that members of the Maloof family would participate in Tuesday's presentation to the Virginia BeachCity Council.

The only speakers at Tuesday's meeting were Luukko and the city's economic development director.

by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net

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