Currently, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings play in one of the league’s oldest arenas. Opened in 1988, it is the third oldest, next to Milwaukee’s Bradley Center (which also opened in 1988), and New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Garden is undergoing a massive, multi-year renovation which will bring the arena up-to-date, and would probably push the Kings’ Arco Arena back even further.
The Kings have been looking to score a new arena deal for quite some time. Relocation talk has surfaced and re-surfaced as well. Seattle, Kansas City and Anaheim have been rumored as possible relocation sites for the Kings.
Of course, Kansas City, and their new arena, the Sprint Center, have been looking for a major-league tenant since the arena opened in 2007. There have been rumors of teams moving there, but none have relocated to Kansas City, leaving the five-year old arena without a major tenant.
It would be interesting if the Kings did in fact move to Kansas City. The Kings would actually be moving back to the city they vacated in 1985. The team has had its share of relocations over the years. The team began as the Rochester (NY) Royals in 1949. Since then, the team has called Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha and Sacramento home.
Numerous reports are saying that there is now a tentative deal to build a new arena in Sacramento that would keep the team in the city for the long haul. The deal was discussed last week during the All Star Weekend in Orlando. The deal apparently would require a contribution from the Maloof family that owns the Kings and the Anschutz Entertainment Group. Additional money would come from a ticket surcharge, according to a report from NBA.com.
Anaheim has long been considered the most likely candidate for the Kings to relocate. Teams in California seem to relocate within their own state. The NBA’s Clippers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles thirty years ago. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s. The Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995. The other Los Angeles football team moved to Saint Louis the same year.
Anaheim’s mayor, Tom Tait, told ESPN that he is happy that Sacramento has come to a possible arena agreement. Tait believes that his city is NBA-ready, and still remains a viable option for the Kings if the arena deal does not work. But, he believes that one way or another, his city will get an NBA team.
Reports say that the new Sacramento arena could be open as early as 2015. Exact details of the tentative agreement will be announced at a later date. "I think it's great for our community," a tearful Gavin Maloof said. "I'm glad it's finally coming to an end after 13 years. It's been a long road."