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In January 2013, reports surfaced that a Seattle-based group was pursuing the acquisition of the controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings, with the purpose of relocating the team to Seattle for the 2013-14 basketball season. The National Basketball Association (NBA) confirmed statements that the team was being pursued by Seattle interests and an agreement between the previous owners of the Sacramento Kings and a Seattle group of investors was executed on January 18, 2013. Also in January, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson attempted to identify potential qualified buyers to prepare a competitive offer to purchase the team and commit to keeping the team in Sacramento long-term.

NBA league offices received an application for relocation of the Sacramento Kings in mid-February 2013. Mayor Johnson, in his State of the City address on February 28, 2013, began identifying individuals for a new ownership group that would keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento and assist in the development of a new ESC.

On February 19, 2013 the City Council passed a Resolution in Support of Keeping the Sacramento Kings in the City of Sacramento and the Pursuit of a New Sports and Entertainment Facility in Downtown Sacramento. On March 26th, 2013, staff presented a preliminary term sheet between the City and an investment group for the potential development of an Entertainment and Sports Center in downtown Sacramento. City Council approved the preliminary term sheet with a 7-2 vote.

On April 3, 2013, the NBA and a select group of NBA owners listened to presentations from both the Seattle group and Sacramento group on NBA market viability in their respective cities. On April 18-19, the NBA hosted its annual NBA Board of Governors meeting. During the NBA Board of Governors meeting, it was determined that a special meeting would be required in mid-May to vote on the relocation application to move the Kings to Seattle. On May 15, 2013 the NBA Board of Governors, comprised of the league 30 owners, voted 22-8 to block relocation of the team to Seattle thus ending Seattle investment group’s bid to purchase the Kings.

On May 18, 2013, the previous ownership group of the Kings sold the team to Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC. Two weeks later, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale to Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC. Some of the major owners include Mr. Vivek Ranadivé of TIBCO Systems, Mark Mark Mastrov of New Evolution Ventures, Mark Friedman of Fulcrum Property, the Jacobs Family of Qualcomm Incorporated, entrepreneur Chris Kelly, Katrina Garnett of My Little Swans, Naren Gupta of Nexus Ventures Partners, Andy Miller of Leap Motion and Raj Bhathal of Raj Manufacturing Incorporated.

About the Natomas arena facility

A condition in the preliminary term sheet requires the facility in Natomas not compete with the new ESC for similar events. Given the preliminary agreement, once the new arena opens in 2016, the arena in Natomas will no longer serve as the venue for the Sacramento Kings or other entertainment and sports-related activities. Therefore, a plan to reuse the site will be needed. On May 7, 2013, the Council was presented with a staff report outlining the steps for future reuse of the 184-acre Natomas property site, which includes an 84-acre parcel where the current arena sits, and a 100 acre parcel directly north of the arena parcel. In total, 184 acres of land will be a part of the Natomas Reuse Plan.