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Maloofs sell naming rights to arena; admit to looking at moving NBA’s Kings

Sacramento KingsThings are certainly up in the air in Sacramento, where the Maloofs now openly admit to looking at alternative homes for the Sacramento Kings (NBA) despite efforts from city leaders once again to find an arena solution; meanwhile, Arco Arena will be known as Power Balance Pavilion.

First, the arena news. The Kings have been on the hunt for a new naming-rights deal after the 25-year deal with Arco. The replacement — which just smacks of a short-term deal — is with Power Balance, the Orange County marketer of “performance technology,” holograms on wristbands that supposedly help athletes achieve greater performance. As the Power Balance website says:

Power Balance is based on the idea of optimizing the body’s natural energy flow, similar to concepts behind many Eastern philosophies. The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.

OK, then. We’re sure the NBA and city leaders are thrilled with this naming-rights deal, which will be officially announced and explained Thursday.

Still, as offbeat as the naming-rights deal is, there are some truly serious issues facing the Maloofs, including their ability to hang onto the Kings and the trendy Palms Casino. It’s long been assumed that the Maloofs would consider moving the Kings to Las Vegas because of their ownership of the Palms, but that stake may be disappearing. Bloomberg is reporting two private investment firms holding debt on the casino are seeking control, negotiating to take control after the Maloof family violated terms of its loans. Though the Palms and the Kings are held as separate entities (indeed, the Kings have not had issues in serving its debt), problems on one side will surely affect another.

In an interesting move, one of the investment firms seeking control of the Palms, TPG Capital of Fort Worth, is also a major stakeholder in Caesars Entertainment Corp. (formerly known as Harrah’s), which has been rumored at looking at a purchase of the Kings from the Maloofs. Caesars has been a prime mover of a measure implementing a new sales tax on the Strip to help pay for a new arena off the Strip. Whether the NBA would allow ownership of a team with such extensive gambling interests remains to be seen, but given the company’s new financial structure (it floated some 31 million shares in a public offering late last year), approval may not be hard to achieve.

Of course, everything is up in the air. The Maloofs admitted as much in a press release: “We are looking at all options to ensure the long-term viability of this franchise.”

RELATED STORIES: Johnson: We’ll take another run at new Kings arena; NBA: We’re done with Sacramento arena effortsConsultant: It makes no sense to move Cal Expo as part of arena project; Maloof: We’re not looking at move to Seattle; Size of Arco Arena site threatens Kings arena deal

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