Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced to screaming throngs of Kings fans Friday that the deal to sell the NBA franchise to a group led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive has been signed.

The announcement at a City Hall rally brings to an end nearly five months of maneuvering by Johnson to secure a new ownership group, convince the council to commit to building a new downtown arena, and to show the NBA that the capitol city of the most populous state in the nation has the fan base to make the venture successful.

”This was one heck of a comeback,” Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, said on a stage shared with two dozen investors, fans and politicians who had worked to keep the franchise in the city.

Earlier this week, NBA owners rejected a bid to move the franchise to Seattle.

– Reported by Tracie Cone of the Associated Press