Let's face it, sports franchises are like most other multimillion-dollar businesses -- they will locate where they get the best, most lucrative deal.
The Golden State Warriors, for instance, want to move to the waterfront across the bay. Despite having a loyal East Bay fan base, the Warriors want to move to San Francisco partially because they can get a fancy new arena out of the deal.
The ownership of baseball's Oakland A's would like to move from Oakland to San Jose because they would not only get a new stadium but also many more lucrative development opportunities. But the San Francisco Giants oppose the move because Oakland's gain would be their loss as it infringes upon their franchise rights.
Now the NBA's Sacramento Kings are once again talking of moving. The Maloof family, which has controlling ownership in the Kings, has formally applied to the league for permission to move the team to Seattle as part of a proposed ownership change. The new ownership group would include Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.
Many leaders in Sacramento are apoplectic, which we can understand. But they should not be surprised.
It was only slightly more than a year ago that Sacramento fended off a planned move of the franchise to Anaheim. At that time Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former star in the NBA, put together a consortium of leaders who coughed up enough money to keep
But it is a very small market, and there has been little progress in securing the Kings a new arena in Sacramento. The Seattle group has plans to build such an arena in the city's downtown near the city's current MLB and NFL stadiums. That group, which has a strong financial base, also has jumped into the bidding for the National Hockey League Phoenix Coyotes, which could share the new arena with the Kings.
Johnson is, once again, trying to mobilize support to keep the Kings in Sacramento. His group apparently has even attempted to reach out to billionaire Larry Ellison, the owner and founder of Oracle. It is not exactly far-fetched on the surface since Ellison reportedly tried to buy the Warriors when the franchise was for sale two years ago. It would also allow him to stick his finger in the eye of a business rival in Microsoft's Ballmer.
However, most reports we have read indicate that the group has yet to get Ellison's attention or even to get him to call them back. That hardly seems like a willing savior.
NBA Commissioner David Stern promises that Sacramento will be given a chance to make a proposal before a decision is made. But reading between the lines, it is clear that it had better be a good one that includes an arena because the Seattle group reportedly has offered the Maloofs a record $525 million for the team.
That is some serious cash. And, as we said, sports franchises tend to locate where they get the best deal.