By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
January 11, 2013
Plans to build a $400 million arena in Virginia Beach have fallen through after the city’s mayor said there was no clear opportunity to lure a NBA team. Virginia Beach had hoped to have an arena built and a team in place in time for the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Virginia Beach arena failure is directly correlated to reports that Sacramento Kings owner the Maloof family is close to selling the team to hedge-fund manager Chris Hanson and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $500 million. Once the deal is finalized, Hanson and Ballmer are expected to relocate the team to Seattle and build a new $500 million arena.
Virginia Beach and Seattle essentially were competing over the right to relocate the Kings. The difference is Virginia Beach only wanted to move the team, whereas the Seattle group wanted to buy. The Maloofs have been reluctant to sell, which makes the likelihood of a Seattle deal all the more surprising.