Another Attempt to Keep Kings in Sacramento Fails
The Maloofs have repeatedly stated their need for a modern arena. ARCO opened in 1988, despite good sight lines and bandbox acoustics, it's a dreadful place with a complete lack of amenities fans in other towns have grown accustomed to. There's also, more importantly, a real lack of upscale suites, and those are the money drivers in the NBA.
The land swap would have allowed developers to take over and build on Cal Expo's current land, a well-situated 350-acre spit central to the city. The developers, using those funds (or at least capital that would theoretically be repaid with those funds) would finance the new fairgrounds at ARCO and a new entertainment/sports venue in downtown Sacramento, at which the Kings would be headlining lessees.
But it proved too complicated, and too bold for the conservative fairgrounds board.
The developers claim to have another plan, but it looks like an airball. At least there has been movement -- under Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (a former star for the Phoenix Suns), proposals have been flying through quickly, which a lot more previous administrations can say. The Maloofs are not open to doing a massive renovation to ARCO, or even tearing it down and rebuilding on the same spot. They are also not willing to fund the arena completely on their own, especially not with cities like Anaheim, Kansas City and perhaps even Seattle calling.
But the Maloofs have essentially recused themselves of the process, allowing an NBA consultant to handle the work from the team's perspective. It remains to be seen how much patience the NBA and the Maloofs will show. The deadline to file for relocation for the 2011-12 season is March 31, 2011.