The Milwaukee/Sacramento/Seattle triangulation
Long live the King...in Sacramento, that is.
Looks like the NBA wants to keep the California state capitol's franchise right where it is, now that local forces combined to come up with a plan for a new arena that will, in part, be paid for by the public. Left in the lurch is Seattle where another group with deep pockets and public sports facility plans hoped to lure the Kings to the Pacific Northwest.
Arenas--ones built in part by the public--are the key, says Deadspin's Barry Petchesky: "Franchise musical chairs is, and has always been, about new arenas. Publicly financed new arenas. A refusal to build one is why Seattle lost the Sonics the first time around. The willingness to build one is why Sacramento will keep the Kings. The city has agreed in principal to a new arena, which will be paid for with $258 million in taxpayer funds--more than 58% of the total cost. Arenas are the endgame. They multiply the value of a franchise, provide outside revenue stream, and send the potential future sale price of a team through he roof. It's not cynical to assume that these past three years of pitting city vs. city, with heartbreak as the consolation prize, was done solely to pressure Sacramento into propping up the value of the Kings with a new arena."
So where does Milwaukee fit in? Petchesky says Seattle can continue to serve as the NBA's bogeyman, to be trotted out any time a city needs a scare to keep it's NBA owner happy. That city's new facility--again, built with public money--is almost a done deal. Even as we speak, Petchesky writes, "The Bucks are pressuring Milwaukee to pay for anew home...It's a lot easier to force municipal governments and taxpayers into signing off on team-friendly arena deals when the league can point to Seattle and say, 'They'll build your team a new home. What are you gong to do for them?'" Golden State, he says, may want a new place in downtown San Francisco Detroit supposedly wants out of the Palace of Auburn Hills and seeks new digs in Motown.
Gone with the Sacramento deal are the deep pockets of Vivek Ranadive, the software magnet who spearheaded the effort to save the Kings. He wants to globalize the game and vows to do so from wherever he could grab a team. Look for Sacramento to be marketed like Coca-Cola in Ranadive's native India and to the rest of the world where he--and others--see vast NBA growth potential. I speculated that, had Ranadive lost, he might've set his sights on the Bucks.
That point is moot.
Bucks owner Herb Kohl says he wants to sell to owners who'll keep the team here. The franchise brass were silent during this month's Marquette-sponsored forum on the need for a new building. They've already made it known they want a new structure, but it would seem they don't want to be caught in the position of making threats. If the Bradley Center debate ISN"T just about the Bucks but about the building's alleged deficiencies, it's time for some of the other interested parties to help make the case.
You may not like the Bucks, don't care to see taxpayer funds go toward a new arena, go to games, or be able to tell Brandon Jennings from Ish Smith. Someone does, however, see the value in an NBA franchise. Seattle wants hoop back after losing the Sonics. Sacramento's Ranadive lusted for a team. If we decide we can live without pro basketball, rest assured there are others who'll be happy to take the team off our hands.