SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramentos City Council on Tuesday approved a financing plan for the Kings NBA franchise, clearing the way for construction on a $477 million downtown arena. The council voted 7-2 on the package during a meeting that caps off the citys lengthy struggle to keep the team from moving to Seattle a year ago. Mayor Kevin Johnson declared "Long live the Kings" after the final vote, and the chamber erupted in cheers along with team owners. "We had our backs against the wall, but we defied the odds. We made a comeback for the ages and in doing so, I feel like we unleashed the very best that Sacramento has to offer," said Johnson, a former three-time NBA All-Star who maintains strong connections to the league. Under the 35-year deal, the city would be responsible for a $223 million subsidy, much of it financed through a parking revenue bond. The city would pay an estimated $21.9 million a year in debt service that would be paid through lease payments from the Kings and a projected increase in parking revenue. The city also is transferring $32 million worth of land and allowing the team to operate six digital billboards. In return, the Kings would contribute $254 million to construct the arena and develop surrounding land with a hotel, office tower and shopping. Construction on the crown-shaped sports facility will break ground this summer and open in time for the 2016-17 season. At the start of the council meeting, Kings President Chris Granger called it a historic day for the team and Sacramento region, saying the arena would serve as a hub for economic development. The project would bring 11,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs, he said. "This is certainly bigger than basketball," Granger said. "But it doesnt just end there. At the very core, this project is about community." The NBA had told the city that it must open the arena by 2017 or risk losing the Kings. Former Kings owners George, Joe and Gavin Maloof considered moving the team to Las Vegas, Anaheim and Virginia Beach, Virginia, until announcing an agreement that called for investor Chris Hansen to buy the team and move it to Seattle. Johnson led the city in a fight to keep the Kings and got the City Council to approve a plan for a new arena. The Maloofs then sold the Kings to a group led by TIBCO Software Chairman Vivek Ranadive. The council approved a financing plan that allows for construction on the new sports and entertainment complex to replace an aging shopping mall a few blocks from the Capitol. The Kings have played in Sacramento since 1985 and currently play in the 26-year-old Sleep Train Arena, in the citys north end. Scott VandenBerg, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Sacramento and chairman of the board of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the council that the arena will support new and existing businesses by expanding tourism. "Just the speculation that an entertainment and sports complex was going to be approved has already helped improve the health of our downtown core," VandenBerg said. Council members who opposed the deal said that the projects economic benefits are overstated and fear the city isnt getting enough from a public subsidy. Councilman Darrell Fong said the arena adds too much debt. "I know my vote wont stop this deal," Fong said. "Believe me, I hope Im proven wrong." A majority, however, hailed Tuesday as a pivotal moment for elevating the citys reputation. "Its not just about a venue for entertainment and sports; its about the type of life that people get to have when they choose to live in our region," said Councilwoman Angelique Ashby. Critics unsuccessfully tried to block the citys subsidy with a petition drive that failed to qualify for the ballot. Opponents including Patrick Soluri, a Sacramento attorney, vowed to continue to fight. "The mayor and City Council no longer represent the interests of ordinary citizens," Soluri told the council. "Cronyism is running rampant, subsidies for the super-wealthy are handed out at the expense of working-class people and basic municipal services." Before the vote, the team sponsored a rally outside City Hall to show support for the project, drawing hundreds of fans, many of them dressed in purple, the teams colour. Jesus Molina Jersey . Hes still nowhere close to throwing yet. The four-time MVP was in good spirits when he made his first public appearance on the field since having neck surgery Sept. Carlos Vela Jersey .9 million deal Thursday. The 25-year McGinn had 19 goals and 19 assists in 79 games last season in helping the Avalanche tie a franchise record with 52 wins. http://www.soccermexicojerseysteamstore....-mexico-jersey/. -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are tightening the race for second place in the Atlantic Division. Javier Hernandez Jersey . Then he got back at the team that released him five days before the start of last season, hitting a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning of the first game at Fenway Park since Boston won the World Series last October. Hector Moreno Jersey .J. -- John Elway says Peyton Manning cannot stamp himself as the greatest quarterback in NFL history even if he wins the Super Bowl on Sunday.TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips answers three questions each week. This week, topics cover the Blue Jays rotation, the futures John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos, protecting pitchers and a bonus question on his predictions for the MLB playoffs. 1) With J.A. Happ heading to the DL, the Toronto Blue Jays have announced a starting rotation of R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan. Should the Blue Jays feel confident with that group or even this early in the season, should they be looking outside the organization for an upgrade? Or should they have kept a prospect like Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman with the big club? The Blue Jays are starting the season with exact rotation they should be using. Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman both need more development but at some point they may be called upon to help. Certainly there are big questions for three-fifths of the starters but there is definitely upside. RA Dickey is just a year removed from his NL Cy Young Award and is predictable and dependable. I cant believe I am saying that about a knuckleballer but it is true. Mark Buerhle is a more than serviceable innings-eater who gives his team a chance to win start after start. After these two though the questions are significant. Brandon Morrow has suffered injuries in each of the past two seasons after looking like a number one starter at times in 2012. Dustin McGowan is throwing in the mid-nineties and is working on a curve ball to go with his devastating slider, but he has thrown just 46 2/3 innings since 2008 because of recurrent shoulder injuries. Drew Hutchison hasnt pitched in the Major Leagues for the past year and a half due to Tommy John surgery but prior to that he looked like he could be a long-term answer for the rotation. Before the season begins players, front office personnel and fans close their eyes and dream about what could be. I can close my eyes and see RA Dickey commanding his dancing knuckler that will baffle hitter. I can envision Buerhle getting a ton of grounders and working quickly getting the powerhouse offense back in the dugout and scoring a ton of runs. I can picture Brandon Morrow rifling his fastball by the games biggest sluggers and logging a ton of strikeouts. I can imagine McGowan and Hutchison fulfilling the potential that they once had as well. It could happen just that way. But it probably wont. My experience is that the more questions you enter with the more things that will likely go wrong. There is a bunch of unpredictability in this rotation. Depth will be important. It is safe to assume that health will be an issue at some point because it has been an issue in the past. Esmil Rogers and Todd Redmond may make starts if necessary. But Alex Anthopolous is going to have to keep working the phones to look for upgrades. Early in the season other clubs arent typically trading good pitchers but he will need to be ready for when they do become available. So when you close your eyes and dream just hope it is not a nightmare. 2) Is manager John Gibbons on the hot seat with the Blue Jays? If the team is slow out of the gate again this year, will he be replaced? Are his and Alex Anthopouloss future tied together (if one goes, the other follows him out the door)? I dont think John Gibbons is on the hot seat during the season this year. I know there were big expectations last year but the collapse wasnt Gibbons fault. The starting rotation just fell apart on him as Morrow and Josh Johnson got hurt and Ricky Romero imploded. Jose Reyes injury crushed the offense early in the season and more injuries followed. The expectations are less this year than a year ago. It certainly behooves the Jays to get off to a good start so they can start to believe in themselves but Gibbons cant pitch for his team and the staff will be the key. I have never been a believer that managers and general managers are tied at the hip. The manager needs to look at the GM as his boss. Clearly Gibbons was brought back to the Jays because of his relationship with Anthopolous but if Anthopolous thinks a change needs to be made he will have to make it. If ownership gets to a point where they believe the roster is flawed and they decide to make a decision on the general manager it is unlikely Gibbons would survive a change in regime. Anthoplous can possibly survive the firing of Gibbons but I dont believe Gibbons would survive the firing of Anthopolous. As it stands today both the manager and general manager are on firm ground as they should be. They just need to be honest with themselves and their bosses about what the expectations are with the roster they have. The owners can hope to be competitive in the tough AL East but if they expect to win it then both Anthopolous and Gibbons are in trouble. This is a roster for which you can hope but not expect great things. 3) With Reds starter Aroldis Chapman and Rays starter Matt Moore both being hit in the head by comebackers to the mound in spring training, is it time for Major League Baseball and/or the players union to implement mandatory pitcher protection? It seems that pitchers have become more annd more vulnerable over the past few seasons.ddddddddddddnbsp; Fortunately, we have avoided major catastrophe but we shouldnt be shocked if a pitcher were to be killed by a hit ball. We have just been lucky so far. I am a firm believer that we should never wait for someone to be killed to make a change. Baseball already did that once. Base coaches wear helmets now because a minor league first base coach was hit in the head by a line drive and killed. If protecting pitchers is being considered then protect them. Lets not wait for a tragedy. It is currently optional for pitchers to wear the new protective headgear that was developed by MLB for this year. The feedback so far is that the hats look funny and are not overly comfortable. MLB needs to keep refining the protective hats to make them functional. This needs to be a priority for the Players Association as well. Protective hats for pitchers need to be made mandatory at the minor league level initially. Let the kids get comfortable with them so by the time they are big leaguers it is commonplace. Once the hat is advanced enough make it mandatory for major league pitchers to wear. There is no clock in baseball but we need to put a clock on this. Every pitch thrown puts a pitcher at risk. Please hurry. 4) With the second and third opening days approaching for Major League Baseball it is time to make predictions. Here is how I see the American League:AL East AL Central AL West 1) Boston Detroit Oakland2) Tampa Bay* Kansas City** LA Angels3) Baltimore Cleveland Texas4) Blue Jays Minnesota Seattle5) New York Yankees Chicago Houston * first Wild Card ** second Wild Card AL CHAMPION: Oakland As defeat Detroit AL AWARDS AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, DetroitAL MVP: Justin Verlander, DetroitAL Rookie of Year: Yordano Ventura, Kansas CityAL Manager of Year: Ned Yost, Kansas City Here are my predictions for the NL:NL East NL Central NL West1) Washington St Louis LA Dodgers 2) Atlanta** Milwaukee SF Giants*3) NY Mets Cincinnati Arizona4) Philadelphia Pittsburgh Colorado5) Miami Chicago San Diego* first Wild Card ** second Wild Card NL CHAMPION: Washington Nationals defeat Dodgers NL AWARDS NL MVP: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta BravesNL CY Young: Stephen Strasburg, Washington NationalsNL Rookie of Year: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny, St Louis Cardinals WORLD SERIES CHAMPION: Washington Nationals defeat Oakland As LET THE GAMES BEGIN…..PLAY BALL!!! 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