Sam Amick of SI.com reports that there are increasingly strong indications that the Sacramento Kings' bid to relocate to Anaheim ahead of the 2011-12 NBA season is falling apart. Amick reports that the NBA has within the past week directed Kings' ticket sales officials to begin to prepare to send out season ticket renewal materials -- something usually done in March but put off indefinitely given the Maloof family's aim to move -- and that the NBA is not pleased with the lack of a lucrative T.V. contract in Anaheim.
Local television revenue was seen as the golden chalice of an L.A. move, but Amick reports the Maloofs were only able to secure $20 million from an independent channel run by Henry Samueli, the operator of the Honda Center where the Kings would have played and the man leading the financing of the planned move. Given that the Kings make $11 million per year in the much smaller Sacramento, that apparently raised red flags for the league.
Meanwhile, the NBA is visiting Sacramento on Thursday to scope out progress on a new arena and verify mayor Kevin Johnson's claims that local businesses are ready to commit more than $7 million toward new sponsorships for the Kings. Looming in the background is the specter that the struggling Maloof family could, if forced to remain in Sacramento another year, be convinced to sell the team. Billionaire and Pittsburgh Penguins owners Ron Burkle has expressed a public interest in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento.
For more on the Kings' saga, visit Sactown Royalty.
Disclosure: the author is a Kings fan, Sacramento resident and the author of Sactown Royalty.