I wonder what changed between then and now. http://nba.si.com/2012/10/26/maloofs-sacramento-kings-seattle-david-stern/?xid=si_nba
Between now and his departure, Stern is determined to get a franchise back into Seattle, league sources said, and has become a strong ally of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s group to bring back the NBA there. Ballmer’s group has been trying to get the Maloof family to sell the Sacramento Kings, so that the franchise can eventually play in a new arena in Seattle.
What changed is that Sacramento suddenly spread their legs and started offering up public revenue streams
to cover the majority of the arena. IMO, this has never been about "saving Sacramento" - that's just PR to cover up Stern's main goal: protecting the League's ability to have cities pay for their arenas/infrastructure, while leaving the Owners free to share in all the operating revenues from the teams. (When Sacramento was unwilling to pay for an arena, then Seattle was an attractive option, as soon as Sacramento started piecing together an offer, the Seattle immediately went back to being more useful as a threat/leverage)
Easy way to look at it is like this: Hansen's proposal borrows
from the City to build the arena (and Hansen is ultimately responsible for overruns and is on the hook for paying it all back) Sacramento's proposal limited what their Owners pay up front and then the City gives
them $$$ to cover everything else (and when there are overruns or revenues fall short, the NBA doesn't give a damn, they just tell Sacto to keep forking over the $$$ to cover it)
The way the NBA's revenue sharing is set up, teams have to cover their operating expenses before paying into the pot that the rest of the Owners share. This is what doomed the Sonics to begin with in Key Arena. Making the bond payments to the City took a big chunk out of the bottom line and made the team less valuable to the other owners than it looked on paper.
This is why modern Pro-Sports economics seem so counter-intuitive: From the NBA's perspective, it's more profitable to have a struggling team playing in a building where someone else is paying the majority of operating costs than to have a successful team that pays it's own way.
Hansen's proposal is great for the fans & city of Seattle. He's confident he'll make his money back over the long-term with it. And it does help the NBA by raising overall franchise values. However, when individual Owners look at it, they're going to see 2 main drawbacks:
1. It sets a bad precedent for how much of their own money
they'll be expected to chip in for future arena improvements/construction
2. It weakens their leverage to extract public $$$ from their own markets in the future. (because Seattle's removed as a relocation threat, and because Sacramento opened wide with public funds but couldn't guaranteed keeping the team)
That's why Hansen has had to raise his offer to such astronomical proportions and make guarantees about the revenue sharing to make the other Owners think twice. Given the choice between a loan or a gift, the Owners are always going to choose the gift.
I'm sick of chasing after my dreams. I'm just going to find out where they're headed, and catch up with them later.
- Mitch Hedberg