Tim Leiweke, chief executive of AEG, told reporters today that the stadium and entertainment developer is still interested in operating an arena in downtown Sacramento. The company is willing to partner with the city under the terms of the arena deal agreed to last year.
Leiweke, who made an appearance at the state capitol Tuesday, also added that both NBA Commissioner David Stern and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson both asked him to “re-engage in the arena issue”. He has plans to meet with Johnson sometime this week.
“To the commissioner’s credit, I don’t think he ever forgot about Sacramento,” he said. He said Stern, whom he’s known for decades, doesn’t like to relocate franchises.
AEG pledged $59 million to the arena plan that was abandoned by the Kings last spring. “We are still committed to the same economic package,” he said.
While a plan has emerged in recent days to build an arena at Downtown Plaza instead of the railyard, Leiweke said AEG will let the city take the lead on choosing a location.
Dale Kasler, who wrote a significant portion of the story for the Bee, joined Grant Napear on CBS Sports 1140 to offer this take on Leiweke’s stance.
I think it’s a pretty significant development because of just how demonstrative Leiweke was this afternoon. He was at the capitol to show off the Stanley Cup – AEG owns the Los Angeles Kings. And he was four-square behind this arena deal, no wavering. As he put it to us, ‘We have not changed our mind about Sacramento or the arena project’, so they seem pretty substantially involved.
You can read the complete story by Kasler, Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis over at the Bee’s website.