I was first puzzled and then potentially excited by the idea of the Sacramento Kings relocating to the Hampton Roads, Va., area, but now the team says it’s not happening though they are “tied to discussion in Anaheim, Calif., as well as other cities.”
Talking about team locations as a business decision, it’s worth emphasizing the role of sports socialism in the decision-making process. If you evaluate metro areas purely on the basis of market size and competition, then Virginia Beach, Va., looks plausible, but so does Sacramento, Calif. And the much larger and more prosperous (albeit more competitive) Seattle market also looks very appealing. But all else being equal, the rational ownership group also wants to go to the city that will give you the best arena subsidies. The NBA’s departure from Seattle and the Kings’ likely departure from Sacramento are both, in part, about this kind of arena politics.