Wednesday May 23 2012
Local Kings fans react to announcement of new Warriors arena
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
Arena task force says Maloofs didn?t keep their end of the deal
With a bad taste still in the mouths of many Auburn-area Sacramento Kings fans after the plans for a new arena fell through, the Golden State Warriors? announcement earlier this week that they plan to build a new arena in San Francisco only intensified their distaste. After months of careful planning and negotiations, the arena taskforce?s deal came to a swift death last month when the Maloof brothers, who own the majority share of the Sacramento Kings, said they couldn?t agree to the terms of it anymore. Just weeks before they rejected the deal, an arena in Sacramento?s downtown rail yards seemed imminent, according to reports by the Associated Press. The Maloof?s have said that without a new arena to replace their current facility they will likely relocate the basketball team. Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco and the owners of the Golden State Warriors were able to work together to unveil a plan to relocate the team from Oakland to a newly-constructed arena in San Francisco, where it had been previously. Local members of the arena taskforce say they did everything the Maloof brothers asked of them and are disappointed they didn?t hold up their end of the bargain to reach an arena deal, like the Warriors were able to do. Some local Kings fans say they are holding out hope the Kings will remain in Sacramento, while others say they may turn to other live sports in the region for entertainment. Local Golden State Warriors fans say while Kings fans may be envious of the team?s announcement to build a new arena, they are anticipating the relocation. Members of arena task force weigh in Bridget Powers, Auburn city councilmember and member of the Think Big Committee, said she has long-enjoyed Kings games and despite the arena deal not coming to fruition, she remains hopeful there will continue to be an NBA team in the state?s capitol. ?We met our end of the bargain and it?s a huge disappointment that someone else didn?t meet theirs. I haven?t given up,? Powers said. ?I am very proud of what the Think Big Committee put together and the community.? Senator Ted Gaines said he wishes Sacramento fans could have been afforded the same opportunity to celebrate a new arena with the Kings as its major tenant. ?They have been able to negotiate an opportunity to build a world class arena. I only wish the Maloofs would have afforded the same opportunity to the most loyal fan-base in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and I think the proposal put together by Mayor (Kevin) Johnson was an incredible opportunity.? Some fans disappointed, others have grown frustrated Jerry Fisher, sports director for the Auburn Recreation District, said he has already put down a deposit on tickets for one of next year?s Kings games to bring a group of 200 students from the area to. He said he hopes the team stays local, but doesn?t believe a new arena will be built. ?How come the great city of Sacramento, the capitol of our state, can?t get one, but we can put one next to Giants stadium?? Fisher said. Dan Luper, owner of Big O Tires in Auburn, had been a long-time Kings season ticket holder. He said he is now looking for other sports entertainment in Sacramento. Luper said he doesn?t understand why a new arena was necessary for the Kings to stay. ?I always thought they should have renovated the existing one,? Luper said. ?It has kind of put a sour taste in my mouth. Are we going to build one, are we not going to build one? I just enjoy live sports.? Luper said the Sacramento River Cats, Sacramento State sports teams and the Sacramento Mountain Lions are all other options for live sports in the region. Good news for local longtime Warriors fan Down the hall from Fisher?s office, Sheryl Petersen, recreation services manager for the Auburn Recreation District, was celebrating the news of the new arena for the Warriors. Originally from the Bay Area, she has been a fan since childhood. ?I am very happy about this. They used to be the San Francisco Warriors back when I was a kid and they played in the Cow Palace. To see them coming back across the bay just delights me,? Petersen said. The Warriors? proposal for a new arena includes a move to Piers 30-32 in a $500 million privately-funded building. The team?s owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, will pay for the arena?s construction, and pay $75 million to $100 million dollars in repairs to the pier, while the city will lease the land for free. There will be no new taxes and no money from the city?s general fund, according to a report by the Associated Press. Petersen said the new location will also be better recreationally. She said the area around Oracle Arena, where the team currently plays, is not a place she usually stays after the game. The newly proposed arena will have views of the Bay Bridge and will be located close to San Francisco?s Financial District. ?I think it?s a really great venue down on the warf. If you want to go to a restaurant before or after you can,? Petersen said. ?Once they move, I would go just to see the venue. I think it?s going to be spectacular.? Where to go from here? Kirk Uhler, district 4 supervisor for Placer County, also served on the arena task force committee. He said the outlook on a new arena in Sacramento is not rosy. ?I think the biggest hurdle that we have to clear is an ownership group that just doesn?t seem to have the desire to play nicely in the sandbox and so long as that?s the case, we can talk arena all you want, but do you have an anchor tenant?? Uhler said. ?Sacramento?s biggest challenge is either forcing the NBA to crack down on these clowns and make a commitment, or hope that somebody here in the area makes them an offer they can?t refuse.? The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Sara Seyydin at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter AJ_News.