Sacramento Kings: New Arena Gets New Toys

Jan 21, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) holds up three fingers after making a three point shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Atlanta Hawks 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi (18) holds up three fingers after making a three point shot against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Atlanta Hawks 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sacramento Kings won their battle to stay and are getting a brand new downtown arena. What new features will the Golden 1 Center boast?

While the 2015-2016 Sacramento Kings are rolling, it’s a good time to take a moment to revel in the glory of the new Golden 1 Center, which will be opened this fall.

First, we have to appreciate the battle that unfolded to get to this point. Thanks to the lackadaisical owners of the past, the Sacramento Kings brand had suffered in a big way. The team still had the same diehard fans, but the owners were guilty of price-gouging and worrying more about their playboy image than the team’s success or the happiness of the fans.

After almost selling the team to ownership groups in Seattle, Anaheim, and Virginia Beach, the Kings were sold to current owner Vivek Ranadive, who pledged to fully support Sacramento and its passionate fanbase.

With the ownership and location settled, and the team starting to rebound on the court, Ranadive, Mayor Kevin Johnson, and the Kings organization turned to the next major hurdle; building a new arena.

Arco Arena, Power Balance Pavillion, Sleep Train Arena. All three have been used as the name of the Sacramento arena located in the Natomas area since it was built for the new team in town back in 1988. It doesn’t matter how many name changes it went through, or that there was an original Arco Arena on the same site from 1985-1988 before the current one was built.

This arena will forever be referred to by the locals as Arco Arena. When it was built in the late 80’s, there was almost nothing around it. Natomas, on the outskirts of Sacramento, has developed mightily, thanks to the Arco Arena buzz.

Sitting 17,317 people for basketball, Arco Arena is currently the second-smallest of 30 NBA arenas, which in some ways helps it get so loud in clutch situations. The famous Arco Thunder, or crowd noise, is amplified by the close proximity of fans to each other and the players on the court. Thankfully, this Thunder will be carried over to Golden 1 Center, which will hold 17,500 for NBA action.

This will keep it in the second position for smallest-capacity arena, but looking around the league, the differences in capacity from large arenas in Detroit and Chicago to small arenas like Sacramento and New Orleans are very small, with Detoit holding just over 21,000 and New Orleans holding just under 17,000. This is opposite of the NFL and MLB stadium scene. In the NFL, the New York Jets/Giants stadium sits 82,000, while the Raiders play at a dilapidated stadium which sits 56,000.

Arco Arena, while holding many memories for sports fans, was really never a glamorous arena. It is a rather utilitarian structure, that has served the NBA, NCAA, concerts, rodeos, monster trucks, and professional indoor soccer leagues as well over the years. It’s had a fair share of broken fixtures, crummy seats, and disappointing technology, but the fans have loved being there cheering on their team for decades.

All these downsides are looking to be in the rear-view mirror, though, as the new downtown Golden 1 Center is looking to be the most modern, technologically-advanced arena in the NBA. After a long, hard-fought battle with the voters, the city of Sacramento, led by mayor and former-NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, were able to secure funding and land for a new arena in 2014. Now the arena is nearing completion, and will be ready in time to kick-off the 2016-2017 Sacramento Kings season next year.

As we’ve watched the stadium grow out of a torn-down mall which was killed-off in the economic downturn of the mid-2000’s, there have been some incredible new features announced. Not even counting the sleek, modern exterior design, -featuring ‘bi-fold aircraft hangar doors’- the new arena looks like it will provide spectacular views of the court. The new arena also promises to host the best connectivity in the country, emphasising the fan experience to enjoy the game.

The team collected shoes earlier this season to be recycled and used in the court surfacing at Golden 1 Center, as well as the concession stands boasting local, healthy options. Golden 1 Center has also already been certified a LEED-Gold facility, which in normal language means it will be extremely environmentally responsible and promote these green ideals in its daily operations.

In addition to all this , recently, the team unveiled the plans for the new, 4K-Ultra HD-ready, really good quality-scoreboard. From the mock-ups, this thing looks to give the Dallas Cowboys a run for their money. Don’t believe it? Check out these renderings posted by the Kings this week.

It appears safe to say that player stats won’t be kept by an analog section as is the current Arco Arena set-up. The other nice thing about how massive this screen is, is the fact that even the cheap seats should be able to view the board with no problem.

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Just to make sure everyone understands how big this new behemoth of a scoreboard is slated to be, the Kings were very thoughtful and put this massive size in context for us:

The scoreboard will be bigger than a semi-truck. Now that really made things sink in. Everyone and their grandma will be able to see this thing, from miles away even.

What else do the Kings and Golden 1 Center have in store? Probably a lot more exciting news and features to share, igniting an excitement in a city and fan base that has waited for, stressed over, and fought to build a shiny new arena for the better part of the last decade. The future sure does look bright for Sacramento.