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Fans of the Sacramento Kings hold up signs referencing the possible move to Anaheim in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sacramento basketball fans are up in arms about their beloved team’s contemplated exit. The Kings have until May 2nd to formally apply to the NBA for permission to move to Anaheim, where they would become the Anaheim Royals. The decision to bring a third NBA team to Southern California could have big consequences for the Lakers and the Clippers, as it would dilute both their fan base and lucrative TV deals. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has rallied the business community to commit $7 million in sponsorships and ticket sales to keep the Kings at home, but the city may also have to throw in a new stadium to sweeten the pot. Billionaire Ron Burkle, co-owner of the NHL team the Pittsburgh Penguins, has offered to step in and buy the team in a bid to block the move. But owners Joe and Gavin Maloof insist the Kings are not for sale. All of this leaves fans wondering: when basketball season starts up next October, will they be rooting for the Kings, or the Royals?
Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times sports writer, covers the NBA