Mark Mastov.jpg
Mark Mastov wants to help you workout 24 hours a day, and buy the Kings.
Back in January we noted the rumors out of Sacramento

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Sacramento vs. Seattle: Meet 'The Whales' (Here's a Clue: They're Exactly Who We Figured They'd Be)

Mark Mastov.jpg
Mark Mastov wants to help you workout 24 hours a day, and buy the Kings.
Back in January we noted the rumors out of Sacramento indicating 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Pittsburg Penguins owner Ron Burkle were the "whales" that Mayor Kevin Johnson would call upon to help keep the Kings in town.

Last night, over a month later - during Johnson's State of the City (that's on the cusp of losing its team) address - it was confirmed. Johnson announced that Mastrov and his deep pockets will lead an effort to purchase the Kings, and Burkle - apparently with help from the owners of Sacramento's Downtown Plaza - will front a group intent on building a new downtown arena.

If ever there was a formidable pairing of uber-rich guys, Mastrov and Burkle are it.

"Many across the country have counted us out. And I know we are still very much in this game," Johnson told an estimated 3,000 people gathered at Sacremento's Memorial Auditorium, according to the Sacramento Bee. "I hope Seattle gets a team someday. Let me be perfectly crystal clear, it is not going to be this team. Not our team. no way."

More from the Bee:

In brief statements issued through the mayor's office, Mastrov and Burkle offered no details about their plans, but said they are pleased to be part of something special.

"This is about building a winning franchise for a winning community. Sacramento has proven time and again to be a great NBA market," Mastrov said. "As a longtime resident of Northern California with deep ties to Sacramento, I am thrilled to be a part of an effort to do something special for this region."

Burkle said he is "excited about the economic possibilities for the arena and for downtown Sacramento as a whole. We have an opportunity to transform downtown into a vibrant hub of economic and cultural activity that will create jobs and generate a positive economic impact for years to come," he said.

In addition to everything noted above, Johnson also announced that he's wrangled $50 million in sponsorships for the Kings from Sacramento businesses over the next five years and that his "whales" have also agreed to bring back the Sacramento Monarchs women's professional basketball team.

Because nothing seals a deal like women's basketball.

And so the posturing continues. A league vote on whether to ratify the deal the Maloof family has entered into with Chris Hansen and Co. that would ship the Kings to Seattle is scheduled for April 18.

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