City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 25, 2011
Sacramento corporations to make deposits on pledges to Kings

In a sign the region is moving one step closer to keeping the Kings in Sacramento for another year, Mayor Kevin Johnson is coordinating a meeting between local corporations and NBA representatives on Tuesday during which companies will agree to make deposits on their sponsorship and ticket commitments to the Sacramento Kings.

With the deposits, officials are seeking to solidify $10 million in corporate pledges gathered by the mayor and the local business community.

Details of the meeting are still being worked out, but it is expected to be held Tuesday morning and be followed by a press conference. At least 30 business representatives are expected to attend the meeting.

Rick Heron, spokesman for Western Health Advantage, said the company has pledged to at least double its annual $40,000 sponsorship of the team - and is willing to sign a deposit check tomorrow.

The company has been buying "Kings' Row" tickets for more than a decade. "We don't know yet what a final (dollar figure) would be," Heron said. "We're looking forward to working with the team."

Heron said the company said yes when the mayor called, seeing it as an investment in Sacramento.

"For us, it's not about Western Health Advantage or about the Kings. It's about Sacramento, about making this the best place possible to live and work, a healthy community."

Staffers with the NBA are in Sacramento today and Tuesday to research the corporate commitments. Their time here follows an intense two-day visit last week by Clay Bennett, the owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder and chair of the NBA's relocation committee, and NBA attorney Harvey Benjamin.

The Maloofs - owners of the Kings - have until one week from today to ask the NBA's permission to relocate to Anaheim.

Additional reporting by Tony Bizjak.

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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.

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