It's been a busy couple of months for Mark Mastrov, chairman and co-founder of private equity firm New Evolution Ventures (NeV), Lafayette, CA. Since Mastrov became part-owner of the NBA's Sacramento Kings in mid-May, the Kings have hired a new head coach, a new general manager, a new president of basketball operations and added players in the annual NBA draft.

But the dizzying past few weeks were nothing compared to the drama earlier this year surrounding the Kings, who were strongly pursued by a group in Seattle that planned to move the team there. In the end, Mastrov's group, led by software billionaire Vivek Ranadive (pronounced "rah-nah-DEE-vay"), won the Kings for a reported NBA-record $535 million.

"I always felt from day one we would prevail," says Mastrov, who first expressed interest in owning the Kings in January and later stepped back to support Ranadive as he took the lead in the ownership group.

Landing the Kings was a vindication of sorts for Mastrov, who lost out on a bid to own the Golden State Warriors three years ago. But you won't hear a lot of celebratory talk from Mastrov, who instead would rather discuss the strength of his ownership group.

In his first lengthy interview since becoming part-owner of the Kings, Mastrov, the founder of 24 Hour Fitness, talks to Club Industry about becoming an NBA owner for the first time. He compares the pursuit of the Kings to landing a deal in the fitness industry and says his friend, Bahram Akradi, CEO of Life Time Fitness, Chanhassen, MN, could be the next fitness club operator to one day own a professional sports team. He also is looking forward to making the hour drive from his office to Sacramento on game night.