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April 27, 2011
While Kings fans plead for team to remain, Orange County interest borders on boredom; 1,700 signed up for ticket waiting list

By Joe Davidson
jdavidson@sacbee.com

You can see and feel the Kings passion here. Two weeks after the last game was played and days before any official relocation news might become official, you can still see a lot of purple out there.

When NBA folks came to town last week, people and buildings were awash in Kings colors, a sign of loyalty, and in some cases a plea for help.

Meanwhile, in Anaheim, can you hear it? The collective yawn? Folks in Orange County are bored with all of this. Or, rather, never collectively got on board with the idea of the Kings becoming Royals and becoming part of their culture.

The idea of the Kings moving to Anaheim never generated talk-radio discussion, never generated letters to the editor of support to the local papers.

NBA fans in Orange County these days are more curious about Kobe's foot, Chris Paul's skills and other playoff developments. Anaheim is clearly Lakers country and the Orange County Register continues to cover the Lakers inside and out. The Kings rarely made front-page news.

For a good many readers, you mention Kings and you get this reaction: "Hockey team in epic playoff duels, right?"

There is proof of apathy is in the numbers, too. Weeks after Anaheim officials created a waiting list for prospective season tickets to the Honda Center, an avalanche of 1,700 signed up. No typo here - 1,700. Charlie Sheen goes through that many "Goddesses" each year.

To put the 1,700 number in better perspective, consider the reaction by Sacramento when it was announced in that the Kings were indeed headed out of Kansas City and to Sacramento for the 1985-86 season. More than 25,000 people immediately jammed up the waiting list for tickets, and Sacramento and the outlining region wasn't nearly as populated then as it is now.

Fans were that starved for big-time sports, and if the product improves, they will be that starved for success again.

Orange County is the sixth largest populous county in the country, but there aren't enough fans to warrant a wow reaction by the NBA. Not like Sacramento. Image matters.

There's general interest here and general boredom on the issue down south.



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