Downtown Arena: NBA ‘Fans’ Nowhere to be Found at Anaheim Council Meeting on Kings
By Greg Hyatt, SacMidtown.com
Just finished watching the March 29 web cast of the Anaheim City Council meeting, where city officials there voted to approve bonds to attempt to lure the Kings from Sacramento. The council unanimously approved items to issue bonds for upgrades to their Honda Center arena (only five years younger than ARCO…I mean…Power Balance Pavilion.)
Before voting to approve the bonds, the city council took public comment. A chance for anyone to comment on any item on the agenda or any other issue involving Anaheim. (It was also a chance for me to compose myself and try not to vomit all over my computer.)
A number of Anaheim business people/leaders got up to testify in strong support for trying to bring an NBA team to Anaheim. The President of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce was in support. Another guy from the same Chamber of Commerce in support. Local government representatives in support. One high school teacher/basketball coach in support.
Before the meeting officially started, the mayor of Anaheim described the meeting as “historic.”
Now, this was the first time I’ve watched an Anaheim council meeting. But mysteriously missing from this supposedly big city council meeting were FANS. You know, the people who would supposedly go to an NBA game, or follow the team closely on TV. There were no organized groups of fans present (or if there were, none testified). No Signs. No pleas from the audience of “we need a team.” Nothing.
The only people making noise at this meeting seemed to be local Chamber of Commerce representatives and other very rich business owners. And the mayor and other city council members.
Which brings me to this question: Does the average pro sports fan in Anaheim even care about getting an NBA team? Unlikely. (Just go check out the comment section of any Orange County Register news story on this issue.) They are probably too busy following the Lakers, Clippers, L.A. Kings, Angels, Dodgers, Ducks, USC, or UCLA to give a rat’s ass.
For a supposedly “historic” meeting, there was a glaring lack of actual fans at this meeting. As in, zero fans. OK, there was one high school teacher. If there were other fans there, they were not making their presence felt.
So who in SoCal would show up for these games to see a 25-30 win team? Exactly.
In contrast, thousands of people (including myself) about 300 miles up the 5 have supported the Kings since day one. We’ve sold out games when the team won about 30 games every season in the 1990s, and when they nearly pulled off an NBA championship in 2002. Dozens of long-time fans marched on Sacramento city hall recently in pouring rain to support the team. Would you see that in Anaheim?
Who would go see them in SoCal? Apparently a dozen or so Chamber of Commerce representatives.
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