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AEG's Leiweke makes $58.75-million bet on Sacramento NBA arena

March 21, 2012 | 12:13 pm

The man behind the planned NFL stadium in Los Angeles said he is making a $58.75-million bet on Sacramento with his investment in the construction of an NBA arena for the Kings.

Anschutz Entertainment Group President and Chief Executive Tim Leiweke spoke publicly Tuesday about the agreement to help finance the NBA arena to be built near downtown rail yards.

“This will be the first project that we have jumped into since we all went through the greatest recession of our time and it’s telling we did it in Sacramento,” Leiweke told reporters.  “We had a lot of choices.”

Leiweke also said he chose to make the investment in Sacramento in part because of his loyalty to California.

He was in Sacramento this week to meet with Mayor Kevin Johnson, the Maloofs, who own the Kings, and the group building the project. The arena could open as early as 2015.

"Today is the first time all of the partners are in the room together," Johnson told reporters.

Had the Sacramento deal fallen through, Anaheim was standing by with arena operator and Ducks owner Henry Samueli willing to help with the transition.

AEG is planning to build a $1.3-billion, 72,000-seat NFL stadium next to the L.A. Live entertainment complex.

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-- Anna Gorman

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