By Josh Bolus
It cannot be overemphasized that the Yum! Center needs another tenant to go along with the University of Louisville’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. It is well known by now that the bonds issued to pay for the new basketball facility were downgraded to junk status by Moody’s Investor Services about a month ago. An even lower downgrade is conceivably possible in the near future if the city’s financing plan isn’t reevaluated. The NBA provides one of the best options for the city to help bring in extra revenue since it would fill the arena with thousands of fans for at least another 41 dates. As early as next March when the NBA’s relocation deadline occurs, Louisville could dramatically improve the Yum! Center’s financial future if it can manage to attract the NBA’s most available team for relocation: the Sacramento Kings.
In late 2010, chatter of bringing the NBA to Louisville re-ignited after nearly a decade when a Facebook group called “Bring the Sacramento Kings to Louisville” garnered media attention when it acquired over 3,000 followers. As is well known by now, the Kings have been mired in a drawn out stalemate with the city of Sacramento over plans to build a new basketball facility. The franchise was thought to be long gone for Anaheim when they played their last game of the 2010-2011 season in Arco Arena. Instead the looming NBA Lockout convinced the Kings’ owners, the Maloofs, to hold off on relocation and remain in Northern California for one more season until a new collective bargaining agreement was finalized.
Fast forward to today, and the Kings’ future is still uncertain even after the Maloofs and Sacramento came to a short-lived agreement over an arena plan which collapsed earlier this year. As of today, there have not been many public suitors for the Kings likely due to the belief that Anaheim was to be the franchise’s only destination if they left California’s capitol city. However, on June 13, NBA Commissioner David Stern publicly stated that the Kings would not end up in Anaheim because the league’s owners would not vote to approve relocation there. This is likely because the Los Angeles/Anaheim area is already home to 6 professional teams including the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, and there is not enough room for a 3rd NBA team in the same market.
This is where Louisville should come in to fill the void. The franchise is a natural fit considering it would bring back former U of L and UK players like Terrence Williams, Francisco Garcia, Chuck Hayes, and Demarcus Cousins. Before the draft, many were projecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to be drafted to the Kings as well, but unfortunately he was picked up by the Charlotte Bobcats. Aside from getting to see old favorites, this appears to be the only team available for relocation in the near future, which is why the city’s leaders need to jump on the opportunity.
Along with great salesmanship, it sometimes takes the alignment of the planets to attract a professional team to a given market. A year ago, Louisville did not appear to be in any position to land the Kings since they had filed for relocation to Anaheim, and the Yum! Center’s lease granted the University of Louisville virtual control over the facility. Now surrounding circumstances could be developing for Louisville to be in a position to land the Kings with Stern’s recent comments and calls for a renegotiation over the Yum! Center lease with U of L. According to InsiderLouisville.com, the arena’s scheduling will be a major point of discussion at the next Arena Authority meeting on July 16.
Salesmanship is where this city’s leaders must step in. During Louisville’s past three attempts to attract the NBA, ownership groups were always impressed with the city’s potential as an NBA market. The only thing lacking was an NBA quality facility. Now the city has one along with growing grassroots support for an NBA tenant. The ball is now in the city leaders’ hands to drive things forward. Time to get to work.
If you would like to contact Mayor Greg Fischer and tell him to step up, here is how:
A written letter is the best way get through.
Office of Mayor Greg Fischer
Metro Hall / 4th Floor
527 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
You can also send him a loving e-mail at this web address.
Category: Original Content