New stadium in the works for NBA western conference franchise.
The sale of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings to an investment group headed by Indian software magnate Vivek Ranadive was finalised on Friday.
Ranadive becomes the first NBA owner of Indian heritage at a time when the league has made moves to try and grow interest in basketball among the 1.2 billion people in cricket-loving India.
The sale to his group ends a drawn-out saga in which the Maloof family’s desire to sell the franchise to a group that would move it to Seattle sparked dismay in Sacramento.
The Maloofs had controlling ownership of the Kings since 1999 and had been trying to sell the club after efforts for a new stadium deal repeatedly fell through.
Even so, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, kept working to keep the team in the city.
A new stadium deal is part of Ranadive’s package. Sacramento city council now has a public-private deal in place to build a new 18,500-seat arena.
The Maloofs sold their controlling interest in the club and ownership of Sleep Train Arena for an NBA record $534 million.
The transaction had been approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors on Tuesday.
“We respect and would like to acknowledge the NBA Board of Governors’ dedication and diligence in working through this process over the past several months,” George Maloof said.
“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank commissioner David Stern and the NBA staff who worked tirelessly on this transaction. I also would like to praise mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council and staff for their efforts and loyalty to the Sacramento community.”
NBA commissioner David Stern said the real winners in the deal were Sacramento fans.
“We are pleased for both the Maloof family and the Ranadive group, but particularly pleased for the fans of the Kings,” Stern said.
Ranadive, 55, grew up in Bombay, India before becoming the founder of TIBCO a multi-billion dollar real-time computing company. He has also written several financial and investing books.