A grassroots effort to save the Sacramento Kings and keep them from moving to Seattle has launched a website, asking fans to commit to buying season tickets for a potential new arena.
The “Here We Stay” movement is calling on the owners of the Kings, the Maloof family, to sell the team to potential local owners and not to a Seattle group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. Reports came out last week that a deal was close to sell the Kings and move them to Seattle. Since then, other reports indicate a deal is not that close and that other buyers in the Sacramento area are interested.
The new website called “Here We Buy” asks fans to fill out a form and commit to purchasing season tickets at a cost of $1,500, $4,000 or $10,000.
At least 373 fans committed to buying over $1 million in tickets by Monday morning. The organizers' goal is 17,317 – the capacity of the Kings’ current home, Sleep Train Arena.
The site operators admit that fans aren’t actually making a legal commitment to buying tickets, but rather giving their word that they would do so.
The organizers are hoping to convince the NBA to keep the Kings in Sacramento and give Seattle an expansion franchise.
“Basketball fans should not have to choose between Sacramento and Seattle,” a posting on the site reads. “Both of these cities have proven their worth in the best of times and in the worst of times. It is time for David Stern and the NBA owners to right one wrong and prevent another. If the team is available for purchase, it is time for a Sacramento buyer to be granted an opportunity to match any offer the Maloofs extend to potential buyers.”
Even if a deal is reached to sell the Kings to the Seattle group, NBA owners must approve the sale and relocation.