NBA’s Sacramento Kings Await Franchise Fate While Investors Tout Brand Plans


The lowly Sacramento Kings haven’t made it out of the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2004, and its owners, the Maloof family, have been threatening to move the struggling team out of Sacramento for years. This may explain why the team had the lowest average attendance (13,660) at home and are in the bottom five of Brand Keys’ annual list of NBA team fan loyalty, Forbes reports.

As the Maloofs try to unload their 65 percent share of the franchise, NBA officials will be deciding later this week whether the team will find a new home in Seattle or remain in Sacramento, thanks to competing interest in the team from two groups of investors. However one investor has a much bigger plan for the franchise if his bid is accepted.[more]

If the Sacramento-based bid gets its way, Silicon Valley software bigwig (and potential team investor) Vivek Ranadive aims to make the team a “global brand” with pushes in China and his homeland of India, the Sacramento Bee reports. Ranadive also added another investor recently, venture capitalist Naren Gupta, who has an offices in both India and Menlo Park, Calif., bringing the total number of investors willing to keep the Kings in Sacramento to seven. With an investment team that includes Facebook alum Chris Kelly, the hope is to use their collective bucks and digital smarts to spread the brand across the globe. “The Sacramento Kings should be the most innovative franchise in the NBA,” said Kelly, the Bee reports.

Of course, winning a few games would help their cause as well. With one game left in the season, the Kings are 28-53, good for third worst in the Western Conference.

“Winning is the only thing when it comes to a conference or playoff championship,” said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys’ founder and president, in a press release. “But when it comes to loyalty, it’s not the only thing. Fan loyalty correlates very highly with broadcast viewership, merchandise purchase and ticket revenues, and there are three other emotionally based factors that must be taken into account.”

Whatever those factors are, whoever ends up owning the Kings has got some work cut out for them to make it not just a stronger global brand but a stronger local one, too.