By Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis
Calling it "a historic day in Sacramento," Mayor Kevin Johnson emerged this morning from a two-hour meeting with NBA officials and more than two dozen local business leaders willing to make deposits on multi-year sponsorship deals and ticket purchases for the Sacramento Kings.
The $10 million in business pledges aimed to show the NBA that Sacramento could financially support the team, and to convince the league to keep the Kings here rather than allowing them to move to Anaheim.
This morning, Johnson said, Sacramento businesses "made a down payment on the Sacramento Kings and this being their permanent home." Companies committing to support the team included Sleep Train, Golden One Credit Union, Zoom Imaging Solutions and Arden Fair Mall.
"We are for real and we are here to support the NBA and the Kings --not just for this year, but for many years to come," said Matt Mahood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.
NBA executive Chris Granger attended the meeting at the Golden One offices near Watt Avenue and Folsom Boulevard. But did not emerge with the mayor afterward to address reporters.
It is unclear when the Kings' future will be known. Johnson said he expects the NBA's relocation committee to meet within the next few days to decide whether to recommend that the team stay in Sacramento next season or move to Southern California. The Kings have until Monday, May 2, to file for relocation.
Granger is an NBA vice president who heads the league's Team Marketing & Business Operations division. His unit acts as a trouble shooter for teams that need help with marketing and ticket sales. After the Hornets temporarily left New Orleans for Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina, his team spent a month helping the team sell tickets and do marketing in its new home.