If Mayor Kevin Johnson's press conference on Tuesday was an indication of anything, Sacramento's efforts to keep their only major league team, the Sacramento Kings, are ramping up.
Finding a major equity partner to make "a fair and competitive offer" is only phase two of Johnson's plan to keep the team and he and his staff has had to work at a frantic pace since learning about the potential move on Jan 9.
At another press conference on Wednesday, he says that "considerable progress" is being made:
We are pursuing these conversations with a number of folks, but I will tell you this. All the ownership entities, they have the resources to run a championship caliber product for the NBA and that's something that's very important to me and our community.
They all have a vision for a franchise … they're committed to being a partner with the city and making sure that we build a downtown arena that create jobs and economic development. They have a sense of understanding that a basketball team is bigger than basketball.
The Maloofs signed a deal to sell the Kings to the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer Seattle-based group for $525 million but NBA Commissioner David Stern said that Sacramento will have its chance to present an offer to the NBA Board of Governors.
Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov are two names with deep pockets that are rumored to be collaborating to buy the Kings but Johnson wouldn't name names when asked.
Johnson says he has to prove to the NBA in mid-April that they can get credible majority owners, follow up on the commitments the city has made and prove that Sacramento is strong market and an NBA city.
He says that even if the Kings move, an arena would benefit the city:
What's been really interesting is that folks who analyze the opportunity in terms of a downtown arena, they have the clear belief that doing a downtown arena makes good economic sense.
People are starting to believe in our market to that degree. Yes, we want to have our team and build an arena, but they feel the economics make sense, even if for some strange reason we didn't have an NBA team. That, to me, is a really powerful place for us to be as a community, that people are starting to see our market in the way that I think all of us from this community see it.
With little time left to keep the team Johnson will need a miracle to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle and becoming the SuperSonics, but a miracle has happened before.
This time, Sacramento will try to keep the Kings for good.