Yakama Sun Kings Announces Their End of OperationsPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash. -It wasn't the wins and losses that mattered most, it was the dollars and cents. The Yakama Sun Kings were losing a ton of money, and Thursday, the five-time champs folded.
"Due to declining revenues and resulting losses, the Yakama Nation has voted to disband the Sun Kings," said Tribal Chairman Ralph Sampson Jr. "I've always loved basketball. I'm very disappointed." he added.
The Yakama Nations revealed some staggering financial figures. Since they purchased the team in 2005, they've lost a total of $1.3 million --$430,000 a year. Attempts to sell the franchise were unsuccessful and the Yakama Nation had to get out.
"Unfortunately the past winning seasons have not reflected for us financially. It's not feasible to continue financially," said Sampson.
It's shocking for several reasons. Two years ago the Yakama Nation had previously voted to try and operate the team for at least three years.
On the court, the Sun Kings were the class of the CBA, winning five titiles since they came to Yakima in 1990, including 2006 and 2007.
This year they didn't win it all, but went 43-5, the best mark in league history.
Still the money was not coming in. There were lots of empty seats. There were several off-court issues.
The team fired coach Paul Woolpert's only assistant right before the playoffs without explanation. Then, the conference finals couldn't be played at the SunDome because of scheduling issues. The series had to be played at YVCC. What's more, Oklahoma coach Ray Richardson went berzerk in the Conference Finals, and tried to fight several of the players.
Two other CBA franchises also folded the last two years: Great Falls and Utah. Eight CBA Teams remain.
Woolpert cleaned out of his office Thursday and said he was disappointed. He will speak more Friday.