Living in Southern California as I do (about halfway between San Diego and Anaheim), I’m able to share a unique and different perspective on the possible relocation than a large majority of King fans. One would assume from a pure selfish standpoint I’d be more than okay with the Kings potential relocation to the Happiest Place On Earth, but I’m not. I know how much the Kings mean to the Sacramento and surrounding areas. I grew up in the Valley – the Kings ARE that area. And while the money will increase in the Maloofs pockets if they venture to Southern California, hearts will not.
Considering the advancement in the potential relocation, it would seem reasonable that local media outlets would be clamoring at the idea of a professional sports franchise coming to their city. So not the case. Riverside and San Diego news outlets haven’t even given the news a second look and outside of some small articles in the OC Registrar and LA Times, they’ve already become second thought in Anaheim – before they were ever even news in the first place.
Southern California sport fans (with exceptions, but from a general perspective) are band-wagoners. That’s not meant as an insult, but it’s the truth. You do have your small legions of true, hardcore fans but they’re in the minority. Outside of the last few years in a down economy, Sacramento King fans have been among the most supportive in all of professional sports, no matter the league. If the Maloofs expect to ever have the same type of support, they’ll be sadly mistaken. Yes, fans will adore a future Anaheim team when they’re winning – but they’ll be nothing more than an afterthought when they’re not. It’s the nature of the beast in an area where there are so many other entertainment activities to spend your money on.
Will the Kings draw more fans in Anaheim on a day-to-day basis for a bad team? Sure. That’s reasonable. You’re drawing from a pool which includes the two largest cities in California, Los Angeles and San Diego, not to mention the large developments in Riverside and between the OC and San Diego. The fan base quadruples in size from the Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto area, if not more. But at the same time, despite the recent downsizing in average attendance for home King games, is it really fair to use these past few years as your measuring stick when the Kings continually had one of the highest attendance marks in the league for years despite being one of the worst teams? Sure seems like a lot of “what have you done for me lately”…
Listen – I understand why the Maloofs are thinking Anaheim. From a business perspective, it’s hard to blame them in all honesty. But, as in any situation, there is more in life than just money – even with a business.
The Kings (or whatever team name they’ll become) will never have the support – the heart – the love, that the Sacramento Kings have. They’ll never be above the Lakers. It’s a question mark if they’ll ever be above the Clippers. The Kings will just be another thing in the OC – you’ll never see another passionate fanbase at a Kings game. Home court advantage? Forget about it.
Joe, Gavin – trust me. Your pocket books will be a bit heavier, but Southern California wont love you. Hell, you’ll be lucky if they even know you’re around.
At least you’ll have a few extra bucks to wipe your teary eyes with though. Guess that’s all that matters.