The Maloofs, savvy owners that they are, have bided their time, gotten a couple of mayors to dance to their tune, and created a climate in which they could see a huge return on their investment in the Sacramento Kings.
A group led by Seattle hedge manager Chris Hansen is rumored to be on the brink of paying $500 million for the Kings, which would be a record price for an NBA franchise. The Maloofs paid $156 million for the Kings in 1998, according to Forbes magazine.
Just a year ago, the financial magazine had estimated the value of the franchise at $300 million, ranking it 23rd in the 30-team NBA.
A sale price of $500 million would add up to a hefty profit for the Maloofs, even if the team is $200 million in the red. They would stand tall among their NBA brethren, businessmen whose aim is make a lot of money by using taxpayers’ money to maximize their profits. There are 10 billionaires among the 30 owners, according to InvestingAnswers.
The Maloofs didn’t embrace Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s offer to pony up $255 million in public money to build them a new arena in downtown Sacramento. The mayor’s plan would have required the Maloofs to pump in $85 million of their own money. No sense in doing that when some other mayor, like the one in Virginia Beach, would be desperate enough to offer a new arena at no cost to them.
Now, the Maloofs, with a lot of buzz going about a near-deal in Seattle, have Johnson on the ropes, and taxpayers ought to be real worried about what he might do to avoid a major political setback.
Buy hey, the Maloofs are the owners of a sports team and that’s how the business is played. Why would anyone expect the Maloofs to sacrifice themselves financially for Sacramento sports fans? Why should they pay big salaries to get top talent when the value of the franchise booms even with a team that has stumbled through six straight losing seasons?
Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton ranted today about the Maloofs in a column headlined “Blame all of this mess on NBA’s worst owners.”
How could they be the league’s worst owners when they could become the biggest winners in the NBA ownership game? Doesn’t he understand what owners do?