Orange County News

3rd NBA franchise may be in works for SoCal

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The move to bring the Sacramento Kings to Orange County got a boost from officials, possibly adding a third NBA franchise to Southern California.

The move to bring the Sacramento Kings to Orange County got a boost from officials, possibly adding a third NBA franchise to Southern California. (KABC Photo)

The move to bring the Sacramento Kings to Orange County got a boost from officials, possibly adding a third NBA franchise to the Southland.

The Anaheim City Council unanimously approved $75 million in privately backed bonds on Tuesday, clearing the way for the Kings' move to the Honda Center.

The team has indicated a willingness to make a move. If they did, it would mean an addition to two already-existing NBA franchises in Southern California - the Lakers and Clippers.

Taxpayers will not be liable and the funds will be used to pay league relocation fees, make improvements to the Honda center and build a practice facility. The funds will be covered by the owner of the Anaheim Ducks, who also use the Honda Center. The money would also come from games played at the facility.

As for what a new team will be called, one possibility being floated is the "Anaheim Royals." The city made it clear that they want to keep the word, Anaheim in the name.

"In Anaheim, we've been wanting an NBA team for 20 years, and we built the arena for two teams. We have a hockey team, and now we have a chance to get an NBA team, and we're very excited about it," said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait.

"I have three children and they're all into sports - basketball, softball, baseball, and they love going to professional sports," said fan Gina Puccio.

"I think Orange County has a market for basketball so it will attract people from all across the county," said another fan, David Martins.

It's not just sports fans who are excited. The deal could also be a big boost for local businesses.

"The Seattle SuperSonics had done a study when they were there. It was $166 million annual economic impact between salaries, payroll, local investment in the community, so major economic impact," said Todd Ament with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.

Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson says he wishes the Kings well but expects them to pay-in-full the estimated $77 million in loans they owe the city.

The next step in the process is for the NBA owners to approve the relocation. In the past, this has not been an issue.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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sacramento kings, orange county news, john gregory
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