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SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento City Council took a big step Tuesday night to save the Kings franchise.

The council voted to approve a $447 million term sheet to build a new arena. The city would contribute $258 million in public resources, and private investors would contribute $189 million of the cost. The deal is non-binding, pending financial and environmental review.

The biggest deal may be what it means for Seattle s pursuit of the Kings.

The timing was not coincidental. Sacramento s Mayor Kevin Johnson wanted to have a deal in hand before lobbying NBA owners next week, in a formal presentation.

Seattle s investment group, which includes Chris Hansen, and Steve Ballmer, has a purchase agreement for the franchise, and the Kings have filed for relocation to Seattle in time for next season.

Hansen s group is also expected to make its own pitch at the meeting before a select group of NBA owners, and try to sell them on the city s already approved arena plan.

Sources say the group will also try to sell the long term vitality of the Seattle region and the strong corporate base.

Michael McCann, an NBA TV contributor and the director of the Vermont Law Sports Law Institute, applauds Sacramento.

The NBA owners may not vote on whether to approve or reject Hansen s deal until April 19.
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