Will Shaq help or hurt downtown arena effort?

From KCRA Channel 3 - September 23, 2013

As Carlos Cepeda dribbled a basketball at Roosevelt Park in Sacramento, he said there's no question the Sacramento Kings just added a big name brand to their ownership roster.

"Oh, no. Everybody knows who he is. You say that name 'Shaq' anywhere in the world and people know who you're talking about. He's that big," said Cepeda.

But what's not clear is what impact, if any, Shaquille O'Neal's inclusion as a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings will have on the efforts to build a new arena in downtown.

Doug Elmets, a longtime public relations specialist, said he believes Shaq's arrival is a key step in making the arena a reality.

"It gives the effort star power. The investors already have deep pockets. Now, with the addition of Shaquille O'Neal, they are at a crowning point," said Elmets.

The head of Sacramento's Convention and Visitors Bureau had a different take.

"I think the arena deal is already put to bed, so I feel good about it even without Shaquille as part of the ownership group," said Steve Hammond, the CEO of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Julian Camacho, one of the people behind a push for a vote on whether public funds are used to support construction of a downtown arena, said Shaquille's ownership stake may actually be helping his cause.

"In my opinion, I think it has little or no impact. But, the fact that we are talking about this because of him keeps the issue on the front burner. It gives us yet another opportunity to say we don't oppose a downtown arena. We just want voters to have say," said Camacho.

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