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Cancelled Kings games hit fans hard

NBA fans tune into MLB instead
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Dan Luper expected to be at Power Balance Pavilion watching the Sacramento Kings play around this time next month. With NBA players and owners unable to agree upon a deal to end the lockout Monday, NBA commissioner David Stern cancelled all games until at least Nov. 14. Luper, who owns Big O Tires in Auburn, has been a season ticket holder for years. Now he’ll miss at least four home games. “It sucks. I’m a season ticket holder. We already paid for the tickets. It was going to be my last season,” Luper said. “It sucks because it’s greed. I think it’s bad for the fans. I enjoy the actual sport, but it puts a black eye on professional sports.” According to a statement released by the NBA, season ticket holders are eligible to receive refunds plus interest for all pre-season and regular season games that are cancelled, but Luper said he hasn’t been contacted about that yet. “They want more money. The only ones suffering on this are the fans, the loyal fans,” Luper said. “I haven’t heard from the Maloof organization.” Auburn City Councilwoman Bridget Powers is on the Here We Build Task Force Committee, which is looking at ways to bring a new sports and entertainment complex to Sacramento. Having a new arena to play in is one condition the Maloof brothers, who own the Kings, have set forth as a requirement for them to keep the team in Sacramento. Powers said the NBA season delay has not impacted the project’s momentum. “It’s a shame. I know the arena project is in full speed ahead. They have a process that they are going through to get some approvals through the city. It has slowed down nothing in that effort to build an arena and get community support for it,” Power said. “Labor negotiations are no fun. They are not pleasant and I sure hope they can come to an agreement quickly.” Sheryl Petersen, recreation services manger for the Auburn Recreation District, isn’t a fan of the Kings. Although, she said the lockout may still impact her favorite team, the Golden State Warriors. “I think for teams like the Warriors that are sort of a middle-level team with a brand new coach, I think they are even more behind the eight ball,” Petersen said. “There is going to be less time for them to come together as a team. Then you look at the 49ers, who were in the same situation, and their coach was able to get them fired up before the season.” With no basketball on the immediate horizon and her favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, out of the bid for the World Series, Peterson is looking to teams outside of California for entertainment. “My sentimental favorites for baseball are the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. The Texas Rangers are sort of the new kids on the block,” Petersen said. Jerry Fisher, sports coordinator for the Auburn Recreation District, is a die-hard Kings fan. He said news of the cancelled games hit him hard. “I feel fricken horrible. When my Giants didn’t make the playoffs it was bad enough,” Fisher said. “It looks like it’s inevitable they won’t play basketball at all.” Fisher said aside from the games he’ll miss watching, he feels bad for the people whose jobs may be impacted by the game cancellations. “What about all those poor people who work in concessions?” Fisher said. “What about those people that work out in the little square box and take your tickets? What are those folks going to do in this economy? The news said in Sacramento there is already the worst unemployment and housing market. I just hope something comes to grips here.” Fisher said NBA players should keep in mind that fans ultimately pay their salaries. “They have to get back out there for fans. We are the ones that pay their salary. Pretty much after you count going to the games, buying all the gear, you know my Air Jordans,” Fisher said. Until the NBA comes back, he’ll be watching baseball and keeping himself busy officiating basketball games. Fisher said he would miss his annual tradition of watching basketball on Christmas Day most of all. “That is the one day a year from the very top of the morning the NBA has back to back basketball games on TV,” Fisher said. “I sit in my recliner and don’t get up for 10 hours, no matter who is playing.” For now, the first Kings game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 at Power Balance Pavilion, against the Washington Wizards. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ NBA lockout by the Numbers $4.3 billion: Revenue the NBA brought in last season $3.8 billion: Basketball-related income (BRI) the NBA made last season. BRI is basically all the money made through basketball operations, including gate receipts, broadcast revenues, in-arena sales of novelties and concessions, arena signage revenues, game parking and program revenues, sponsorship revenues, etc. 57 percent: Percentage of basketball-related income players were guaranteed. $300 million: Amount owners say they lost last season. The league says 22 of its 30 teams lost money, including losses of $20 million or more for 11 of them. 53-47: Each side’s last formal proposal was a 53-47 revenue split in its favor. Each percentage point of basketball-related income was worth nearly $40 million last season. Figures and information contributed by AP.