City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

March 2, 2011
Business, labor groups enter Kings arena battle

Business and labor leaders are beginning to amp up pressure to build a new sports arena in Sacramento and to keep the Kings in town.

Three of the most powerful business groups in the city - the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Sacramento Metro Chamber and the Sacramento Convention and Visitors' Bureau - released a joint statement today saying a new arena would create jobs and that building a new facility here "will require a significant commitment and investment from the community."

The Metro Chamber, while opposing many other tax and fee measures, supported the failed 2006 campaign to fund a new arena in the downtown railyard through an increased sales tax.

"In the end, an ESC (entertainment and sports complex) is not about the Maloofs," the joint statement reads. "It's not about the Kings. It's about the future of our region. And our community will need to come together to make this project a reality."

Downtown developer David Taylor and arena builder ICON Venue Group are conducting a financial feasibility study for a new arena. Some form of public contribution will likely be part of the funding equation that team comes up with.

The business groups have planned a question and answer session for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Kings fans might see the business community's involvement in this fight as a positive development.

When I was in Seattle last week, I spoke with Brian Robinson, one of the founders of Save Our Sonics, a grassroots group that tried to keep the SuperSonics from moving to Oklahoma City.

I asked Robinson what should be done in Sacramento to keep the Kings in town, and one thing he mentioned was the need for the business community to apply pressure on politicians to get a new arena built.

Also today, officials with the SEIU sent out a press release this morning quoting a pair of Power Balance Pavilion workers whose lives would be negatively impacted should the Kings move to Anaheim.

"We've been with them through thick and thin, and we only hope that they show the same support to us as Sacramento is going through difficult economic times," said Darren Tate, who has worked on the arena's utility crew for over 23 years. "We need the Kings. If they leave, we'll likely see our hours cut, and that's something that many of us simply can't afford."

The release also quoted Ann Santos, a janitor at the arena for 11 years, who said, "It would be a tremendous loss for my family if (the Kings) left, and it would be devastating to the countless workers like me who support our families from our jobs at Arco Arena (Power Balance Pavilion)."

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at


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