I’ve written about this before but with the Anaheim, Calif. City Council having just approved a $75 million bond deal to lure the Sacramento Kings to their city, it’s looking more and more likely that when the next NBA season begins, the Sacramento Kings will be no more and the Anaheim Royals will have taken their place.
What’s weird about the whole story though is how little of a deal is being made about it. I’m not saying that most media outlets aren’t covering it because they definitely are. Nor am I saying that Sacramento fans haven’t tried to rally to save their team or that they haven’t protested the planned move because they have mounted the “Here We Stay” campaign to attempt to do exactly that.
But if you compare the Kings’ ongoing move to Anaheim to the last major sports move, that of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, you’ll notice that there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much drama this time. When the Sonics were playing their last season at Seattle’s KeyArena, fans packed the building and you couldn’t read about or watch a Sonics home game without noting the presence of fans holding “Save Our Sonics” signs. Actually, that was almost just as true for their road games.
Lawsuits, legislative votes, TV pundits and newspaper sportswriters from across the country supporting Seattle: this was not a quiet move and it made headlines for about a year. But with Sacramento, the story barely got underway a month ago and the national outrage just hasn’t been as great as in Seattle, except for sportswriters and bloggers like myself rolling their eyes at the idea of three NBA teams in the Los Angeles area.
Sports franchise moves are weird like that. For every Cleveland Browns moving to Baltimore or Houston Oilers moving to Nashville or the Raiders and Rams leaving Los Angeles in the same exact season, there’s cases like the Charlotte Hornets moving to New Orleans and the Vancouver Grizzlies moving to Memphis where people barely bat an eye. It all depends on how good the owners moving the teams are at public relations, whether the team’s attendance has been all that great lately and whether the team is competitive or not but you still can’t always tell how people are going to react.
I guess it’s a good thing I’m not a Sacramento Kings fan. Because if I was, I’d be awfully depressed right about now.