I didn’t buy it at the time. But, in 2013, the prevailing logic was that Vivek Ranadive overpaid for the Kings. When he took over the franchise, experts tagged its value at $534 million. Fans hailed Ranadive as a selfless Silicon Valley hero who generously shedded millions to keep our beloved cellar dwellers in the 916. What a guy!
Because of the citizen lawsuit against the city, we know that Ranadive and his investors pressured City Hall for a larger public subsidy, using the argument that they were overpaying for the team. (There’s no debating this fact; it’s how the business negotiation went down.) The city acquiesced and gave the Kings cash, property and assets valued somewhere between $300 million and $350 million.
Now, nearly three years later, it’s a different NBA landscape. Steve Ballmer bought the L.A. Clippers for $2 billion. A new Kings ownership group inked a more profitable TV contract. And, late last month, Forbes estimated that the Kings are worth $925 million! The magazine also estimated the average NBA franchise value at $1.25 billion.
I’m thrilled for Ranadive and Co. and their successful investment. But I’ve also got one question:
Where’s our refund?
That’s right: Ranadive never would have purchased the Kings in 2013 without the city’s generous public subsidy. Taxpayer dollars made the difference. Period.
Now the team’s value is up by nearly 75 percent. Don’t Sacramentans deserve a return on their investment? It’s like what Announcer Scott says at every home game: It’s “your Sacramento Kings.”
This spring is refund season, Vivek, and I’ve got the perfect deadline: April 15. We’ll be looking for the check in the mail!