Henry Samueli Rumors
There still are numerous unanswered questions and details to hammer out before the NBA’s March 1 deadline for having an arena financing plan in place, including whether city or government bonds will have to be issued to finance construction. March 1 is also the NBA relocation deadline, so Johnson wants the plan in place by the end of the calendar year. If progress is slow, it’s anybody’s guess how long the Maloofs will wait before they start talking to Anaheim officials again. Officials from Anaheim Arena Management, the Henry Samueli-owned company that runs Honda Center for the City of Anaheim, are staying out of this one. They won’t even say they’re still interested if the Sacramento arena plan falls through, but it’s safe to assume that, with planned arena upgrades scheduled to begin in the next month. The Nexus Report will be delivered to the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday.
Kings co-owner Joe Maloof declined to comment when reached Thursday evening. The move by Samueli represents a dramatic counter to recent efforts by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who earlier this week announced $10 million in new corporate sponsorships, should the Kings stay in Sacramento. Those Sacramento pledges and other local efforts appeared to have swayed NBA officials in the last few weeks into agreeing to support keeping the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year. NBA officials declined to comment Thursday evening on Samueli’s move to sweeten the pot in Anaheim. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson continued to express confidence that the capital city has proved it has what it takes to support NBA basketball. Still, he has issued several public cautions that the outcome of the Kings saga is still not known. “Anaheim may be trying to sweeten the pot, but nothing beats home cooking,” Johnson said Thursday.
In a last-minute move to land the Kings, Anaheim billionaire Henry Samueli today offered to increase his personal loan to the team from $50 million to as much as $70 million, and has offered to buy a minority stake in the team. Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks, also has agreed to far more costly improvements to Anaheim’s Honda Center to bring that facility up to NBA standards. Originally, Honda Center officials had planned to spend $25 million on upgrades. That figure has jumped to $70 million, center officials said Thursday afternoon.
If the Kings (or Anaheim Royals) join the Ducks as co-tenants, the NBA team would be playing mostly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights at Honda Center; the Ducks would play mostly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights. The teams would have “equal priority” for playoff dates. •Ducks season-ticket holders would have “priority” to purchase seats for NBA games with the exception of “floor seats,” seats set aside for “sports packages (good for both teams’ games) and “premium” seats on the Club Level. •A new level of smaller “terrace suites” will be constructed on the upper level of Honda Center, and construction of two new private clubs for premium-seat holders — one under the lower bowl and one on the patio over the Team Store — are being considered.
All of which is a very formal way of saying Samueli, billionaire owner of the Ducks, is all but subsidizing the move for the Maloofs so that an NBA team can join the Ducks as professional co-tenants at Honda Center. Were it not for Samueli, it’s safe to say this deal could not and would not get done. The Maloofs, frustrated by repeated failures to secure funding for a new arena to replace outdated Arco Arena (now Power Balance Pavilion) in Sacramento, began serious relocation talks with Anaheim Arena Management officials last fall.