While I never took the rumors of a Sacramento King relocation to Virginia Beach very serious, there were a handful who deemed the Neptune City a significant threat to the California Capital as it appeared the Maloofs were poised to move the franchise east – or so we were told to believe. That story quickly died down though, even after recently gaining a bit of momentum this past week. But like it’s predecessor that quickly fell apart, this too proved to be null and void, potentially due to the fact that Virginia Beach Mayor has his eyes set on another prize – an NHL franchise:
The Virginia Pilot reported Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms was in Philadelphia Thursday to discuss details of building an arena and still feels confident a professional team would relocate to his city.
The NBA said it has no plans of expanding its league. Mayor Sessoms expressed interest in bringing a National Hockey League team to Hampton Roads.
Virginia Beach is in talks with Comcast-Spectator to build an arena. Comcast-Spectator owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers have ranked top five in NHL attendance the last four seasons, so a move would seem unlikely, but given the Comcast-Spectator ties, Mayor Sessoms may feel he has a better opportunity to bring in one of the NHL’s vaulted franchises than that of the financially hamstrung Kings, who still owe the city of Sacramento.
Many have also all but awarded Seattle the rights to the Kings franchise after plans for a new arena were approved, but that would require the Maloof family to sell their stake in the Kings franchise – something they’ve continually refused to do, already rejecting a $400 million dollar offer from Seattle based tycoon Chris Hansen. One could assume, combined with the arena costs, Hansen would be looking at nearly a billion dollars of investment to move the Kings north – this all for a franchise that Forbes magazine ranked 23rd in the NBA with a value of $300 million.
Four cities have now done their best to swoon the Kings franchise in the past year plus – Sacramento, Anaheim, Virginia Beach and Seattle. None, have succeeded, but only one currently has the team – hopefully for the long haul.