January 11, 2011
In case you've missed it, the Sacramento Kings are potentially on the verge of moving to another city -- perhaps Anaheim, maybe Kansas City, possibly even Seattle. It's a big story in California's capital, both because the Kings are a source of great civic pride and because it could be bad news for the future of small-market teams in the NBA.
Most of the time, teams that are planning on leaving town don't sell their arena naming rights to a new company, but that's exactly what the Kings have done. Akis Yerocostas has the story at the stellar Kings blog Sactown Royalty:
Today, a credible source told Sactown Royalty that the Kings have agreed in principle to a five-year deal with Power Balance LLC to rename the arena the Power Balance Pavilion. This is not a joke, and Joe Maloof was right. Everybody is going to be surprised.
The report has since been confirmed by the esteemed Sacramento Bee, so this looks to be fact.
So long, ARCO, it's been a wonderful 25 years. If you're not familiar with Power Balance, they make energy bracelets that help center your body and mind, or something. That's what they used to say, at least -- the company confessed last week that there is no scientific proof they do anything. I suppose the arena naming rights deal is an attempt to win back its good name. And what better way to do so than by naming the arena of a team that's about to leave town.
Joe and Gavin Maloof own the arena as well as the Kings, so this deal can still be an effective one for the brothers even if their franchise leaves town. In other words, Power Balance may not be associated with the Kings, but instead with the Ice Capades and New Kids on the Block concerts.
Of course, hopefully that won't be the case and the Kings will stay in town. Then players like DeMarcus Cousins(notes) and Tyreke Evans(notes) will be forced to wear the bracelets for fashion to form one of the more ludicrious product tie-ins in recent memory. Nothing will make the Kings seem more legitimate than aligning themselves with a company that used to trust in junk science.