COAST TO COAST: The Kings might be joining the Eastern Conference if a new deal in Virginia Beach goes through. Photo courtesy Mike Ehrmann/GINA

When the deal for a new stadium in Sacramento fell through, it seemed inevitable that the Kings would pack up their bags and leave. The purple-clad boys from northern California only won a third of their games in the shortened NBA season last year and the state is, quite simply, too crowded for so many NBA fan bases to try and grow and thrive.

That’s why the rumors that the team might be headed to Anaheim seemed sort of ridiculous. I mean, Los Angeles, just up the road from Anaheim, starts RIOTS when the Lakers lose, and that’s just ONE of the city’s NBA teams. Suffice it to say, I don’t think there’s much room for a third franchise to make new friends in SoCal.

Then news broke yesterday that the movers and shakers over at Comcast were headed to Virginia Beach in an effort to square away a deal for a pro sports stadium that would enable the Kings, whose owners have been looking eagerly to move, to set up shop on the east coast.

MALOOF ALOOF: With their often “Hollywood-like” demeanor, the Maloof brothers’ tenure as the owners of the Sacramento Kings hasn’t always been great. Photo courtesy Getty Images

When you think professional sports franchises, you of course think about major US cities. Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver. So on and so forth. But Virginia Beach? Really? Actually, the move, in some ways, makes a lot of sense.

According to a 2011 estimate based on the 2010 census, Virginia Beach’s population is only about 30,000 less than that of Sacramento, and the surrounding areas — including Hampton Roads, Newport News, and Norfolk — are also well-populated.

The southeastern Virginia television market is substantially smaller than that of Sacramento (which often gets amassed with Stockton and Modesto) with an estimated 700,000 fewer “TV Homes”. However, the market IS bigger than that of Memphis, Oklahoma City, and New Orleans who are already home to NBA teams. It is also larger than Jacksonville, Buffalo, and Green Bay, which house other pro sports franchises.

But then there’s the issue of crowding on the EAST coast. By placing an NBA team in Virginia Beach, it’ll put three East Coast NBA franchises within 329 miles of each other, even though they’re in three different “states”, depending on how you classify the District of Columbia.

Be that as it may, though, the real interesting thing here is WHICH three NBA teams are bunched together. If the move were to happen, three of the NBA’s five WORST teams, based on last year’s standings, would be elbowing each other for room. That could work to the advantage OR disadvantage of the Kings.

Allow me to explain.

With three lousy NBA teams juxtaposed to one another and none having a particularly loyal following — of the three, the D.C. fans are probably the most diehard — all it may take is for one successful franchise to rise up and become a contender to steal the local fan bases. Depending on how you see things, Sacramento is the best-equipped to do just that.

Then there’s the fact that the Wizards and Bobcats have already turned most casual sports fans in the Mid-Atlantic off of the NBA. The Virginia Beach area, bereft of any professional sports, won’t have any already-established diehard fans and a new NBA team may simply be D.O.A.

So, of course, it seems that the success of a potential move to what the non-Virginian media is calling “a resort city” will have to wait and see. And then there’s the fact that this move isn’t even official just yet. According to unnamed sources in the article from the Sacramento Bee, an official announcement of the arrival of the Kings to the east coast isn’t expected to be made until Wednesday.

That’s a lot of time for something to go wrong.

And the Sacramento front office spent the second half of yesterday refuting the rumors that the team was taking it’s talents to…um…East Beach? Eric Rose, a spokesman for the Kings, told CBS Sacramento only that “numerous cities” had inquired about buying and relocating the team and that they were not going to “comment on every rumor.” Then again, Rose also said that the Kings are “100 percent focused on putting a winning team on the court”, so who’s going to believe that clown, right?

But the man himself, Kings co-owner Joe Maloof, said that they haven’t talked to Virginia Beach. His words, however brief, at least carry more weight and credibility than that of Rose.

However, counter to those statements, Will Sessoms, the Mayor of Virginia Beach, said that a “consortium” of sports and entertainment companies have come to his city to discuss building an 18.000-seat stadium on the Oceanfront. Sessoms also said that Comcast, who is heading this so-called consortium, has personally guaranteed him that, if a stadium deal is completed, the city WILL become the new home of a pro sports franchise, and the Sacramento Kings are suspect number one.

Yes, the massive corporate force that is Comcast is behind this move. They reportedly would finance the construction of a new sportsplex in exchange for naming and television rights. Plus, the corporation — who owns NBC — already has a foothold in the southeastern Virginia sports community. The media conglomerate operates the Ted Constant Convocation Center, where Old Dominion University plays basketball in Norfolk.

Not only that, but Comcast isn’t exactly a newcomer to the world of professional sports. The company actually OWNS the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers as well as the Wells Fargo Center, where the aforementioned Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers play.

Best of all, the Kings might not even have to change their name. After all, the colony of Virginia was originally founded for the British crown and Virginia Beach is just down the road from the famous colony for which a king is named: Jamestown. But let’s not get carried away with the dictatorship analogies here. After all, with a record of 88-224 in their last four seasons, Sacramento is anything but a dynasty.

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NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure you follow him @bclienesch for NBA updates and other shenanigans!