The Sacramento Kings made it official with an announcement regarding the purchase of a majority stake in the Sacramento River Cats (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) and land at Sutter Health Park.
Arctos Sports Partners, which has made plenty of headlines investing in sports properties recently, was part of the deal as well. Besides the Utah NBA and MLS properties outlined in the linked Soccer Stadium Digest story, Arctos investments include Fenway Sports Group, Chicago Cubs, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Susan Savage, longtime owner of the River Cats, will serve as a strategic business advisor and member of the ownership group.
“My sons, Jeff and Brent, helped me continue what my late husband Art started back in 2000, providing fun, safe and family-friendly entertainment for everyone in the Sacramento region,” said River Cats Strategic Business Advisor Susan Savage via press statement. “As our family looks to transition into new ventures, we identified the Sacramento Kings as the perfect strategic partner to continue this tradition while deepening the organization’s footprint in a region we all love. It has always been about the community and our employees and that will not change.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Susan Savage and her family, who made the River Cats into a tremendous community asset with a great brand and tradition,” said Sacramento Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé via press statement. “We look forward to building on their inspiring legacy and continuing to provide families with memorable experiences.”
“We are proud of our partnership with the Kings and believe strongly in Vivek’s innovative vision of building a world-class sports and entertainment platform, coupled with his deep commitment to the Sacramento community,” said Arctos Sports Partners Partner Chad Hutchinson via press release. “This is a unique opportunity to bring together two iconic organizations in one of the most dynamic markets in the country. We are committed to working closely with the Kings to serve the Sacramento community and deliver an exceptional fan experience.”
Dan Barrett of CAA ICON and Bob Stanley of Evolution Media Capital served as sell-side advisors to the Sacramento River Cats.
While it’s not totally unusual for an NBA team to own an MiLB team–the Utah Jazz and the late Larry Miller famously owned the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League), an ownership stake that passed along to Ryan Smith and SEG when they purchased the Jazz, Vivent Arena and related assets–we’re guessing there is a big, non-baseball motive for Ranadivé and Arctos to show interest in the River Cats: real-estate development. The press release specifically mentions Ranadivé’s expertise as a real-estate development in conjunction with downtown’s NBA arena, Golden 1 Center, and revitalization of downtown Sacramento. West Sacramento is primed for such development, and purchase of the team and its land holdings gives it a foothold in the West Sacramento development world. Plus, Ranadivé’s ownership of the Kings has seen plenty of investments in arena and fan tech, and Sutter Health Park is is primed for some key ingredients in upgrades in the fan experience.
RELATED STORIES: Report: Sacramento River Cats, ballpark sold for $90M