A group of investors led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Corp CEO Steve Ballmer is likely to buy the Sacramento Kings basketball team for $500 million. The owner of the club, the Maloof family, has agreed in early January to sell the franchise, which will be moved to Seattle after the purchase is completed.
The Kings should then play for two seasons in KeyArena, the former ground of Seattle Supersonics before the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
"It appears to me for the first time that they [the Maloof family] have possibly shown a desire to sell the team, and that's what I think is significant today," said the Sacramento mayor and a former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Kevin Johnson.
"I'm going to make every effort that I can possible do to identify buyer that will ensure that the Sacramento Kings remain in Sacramento," the mayor commented on the rumors on the club's sale, mentioning supermarket mogul Ron Burkle expressed an interest in the past.
The Sacramento Kings is Sacramento's only major team. US cities often clash over sports franchises as they are seen as economic engines and a source of civic pride.