Before 3,000 attendees at his annual State of the City address tonight, Mayor Kevin Johnson unveiled his full “Playing to Win” strategy to build a downtown entertainment and sports complex and propose new ownership committed to building a winning franchise in Sacramento.
“Sacramento has put on the floor a winning team – and we are playing to win when it comes to keeping the Kings, creating jobs and transforming our downtown.” explained Mayor Johnson.
During the speech, the Mayor announced his support for a new ownership group led by Mark Mastrov to purchase the Sacramento Kings. Mr. Mastrov’s group will formally submit their proposal to the NBA tomorrow morning – meeting the March 1st deadline set forth by the Mayor in January.
“This is about building a winning franchise for a winning community,” explained Mr. Mastrov. “Sacramento has proven time and time again to be a great NBA market. As a longtime resident of Northern California with deep ties to Sacramento, I am thrilled to be a part of an effort to do something special for the region.”
Mayor Johnson also outlined plans to develop a new downtown entertainment and sports complex at the Downtown Plaza Mall as an anchor of an ambitious economic development and revitalization effort that will be led by Ron Burkle.
“I am excited about the economic possibilities for the arena and for downtown Sacramento as a whole,” explained Mr. Burkle. “We have an opportunity to transform downtown into a vibrant hub of economic and cultural activity that will create jobs and generate a positive economic impact for years to come.”
Both Mr. Burkle and Mr. Mastrov join the effort with considerable credibility in business and sports. Mr. Burkle is widely recognized as one of the preeminent investors in the retail, manufacturing, distribution and hospitality industries. He is also co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, and was instrumental in the development of Pittsburgh’s new arena, the CONSOL Energy Center, a key component of the city’s recent economic revitalization. Mr. Mastrov is the founder of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc., which he grew to the world’s largest fitness company, serving more than 3.5 million members in the U.S. and Asia.
Approval from the NBA Board of Governors is required to formally complete any proposed sale or relocation of an NBA franchise. The Board will meet April 18, and is expected to review Mr. Mastrov’s proposal prior to the meeting. In January, Mayor Johnson was granted permission by the league to present to the Board at that meeting.