Whether it’s talking about Microsoft or bringing the NBA back to Seattle, Steve Ballmer certainly has lots of energy for supporting causes he believes in.
Along with fellow investment partner Chris Hansen and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Ballmer was in New York City today to meet with a committee of NBA owners to present arguments for why Seattle deserves an NBA team.
Ballmer didn’t meet with the media today, McGinn told reporters that Ballmer left the owners with a spirited message to drive the group’s points home.
“Steve Ballmer finished up with something I call a characteristically enthusiastic presentation,” McGinn said.
Hansen just met with the media and echoed similar thoughts, saying that “Ballmer was very enthusiastic to be a part of this and that [Steve] really made that point clear.”
McGinn and King County executive Dow Constantine wouldn’t say much more about their two-hour, closed-door meeting, other than the fact that it went well and they were there to demonstrate the political support for the NBA in Seattle. Hansen, who led the presentation, spoke about the economic strength of Seattle, as well as how Seattle’s arena deal is further along than Sacramento.
“I do think it was a very positive meeting,” McGinn said.
Some background on this whole situation: Hansen and Ballmer reached an agreement with the Maloof family (current owners) in January to buy 65 percent of the Kings for a reported $341 million. The group has already put down a $30 million non-refundable deposit and has requested for the team to play at KeyArena for two seasons before moving into the new SoDo arena in 2015.
But now Sacramento is fighting back, and two tech titans from the Valley have stepped up with more money less than a month before the NBA makes its decision to block the Seattle group’s bid to bring basketball back to the Emerald City or leave the standing deal intact.
NBA commissioner David Stern said publicly that Sacramento’s bid was far too low in comparison with what Hansen and Ballmer were offering. The Sacramento group is presenting at the moment. We may find out later today if, with the addition of the new investors, Sacramento’s bid has increased. (UPDATE: The Sacramento investors declined to say if the bid increased today).
Wednesday’s meeting was put in place to get the NBA owners up to speed on everything going on. Everyone will reconvene in front of the full NBA Board of Governors at its annual meeting April 18-19 when the official vote happens. That’s when we’ll know if the NBA is coming back to Seattle or not.
Previously on GeekWire: Sonics update: 44K season-ticket requests and a music video featuring Macklemore