After two days of meetings and get acquainted sessions, the major investors in Sacramento’s attempt to retain its NBA team was introduced to fans and the media.
The group took a brief tour of the Downtown Plaza Mall which would be home to a new sports and entertainment arena before a brief rally was held by Mayor Kevin Johnson.
The primary architect of the investor group Vivek Ranadive used his Silicon Valley software savvy to put together the group.
“You can get money from lots of places but what you want is smart money and I have really really smart people in this group,” said Ranadive.
Among the newly revealed investors is former Facebook executive Chris Kelly.
“To Sacramento fans who have expressed themselves through social media and other channels, we’re going to try to bring the Kings home for you,” Kelly told the crowd that gathered in the shopping mall.
Former Apple executive and software guru Andy Miller also spoke.
“I can’t wait until we start talking about – away from staying or going – and start talking about building an arena right here, building a championship organization,” said Miller.
The Jacobs brothers, who run San Diego communications giant Qualcomm, are major money players.
“We grew up loving basketball. We’re super happy to be part of an NBA franchise and one with a great history. My wife was actually born in Sacramento so this is a hometown team for my family,” said Paul Jacobs.
Mark Mastrov, the owner of the 24 Hour Fitness chain also spoke saying he has a connection to Sacramento, where he spent much of his adult life.
Also in attendance was local developer and major investor Mark Friedman and Todd Chapman, President and CEO of JMA Enterprises which owns the mall and is part of the development team. Several smaller local investors were part of the group.
Mayor Kevin Johnson said they’ve done their best to put together a strong ownership group and he said it’s now in the hands of the NBA Board of Governor’s to decide whether the Kings stay in Sacramento or are allowed to move to Seattle.