Building a throne for a sports franchise is more expensive than ever, even if your are the Kings. But the early reviews of the recently-opened $560-million Golden 1 Center are glowing...

"Most Technologically Advanced Arena in the World"
-- NY Times

"The Highest-Tech Stadium in Sports is Pretty Much a Giant Tesla"

"The Kings New Arena was Designed with Sacramento in Mind"
---Sports Illustrated

Vivek Ranadive' ownership group have decreed firsts, biggests and bests in three major areas with the Golden 1 Center...

Design: First ever indoor-outdoor arena of its kind
Solar: The first 100-percent solar-powered arena
Sustainability: First LEED Platinum professional sports venue in the world with 100,000 people within walking distance of the arena
Jumobtron: First ever 4K ultra HD board in the NBA; largest in the NBA at 84 feet in length
Connectivity: World’s most connected sports and entertainment venue with two Ethernet dedicated internet circuits, each with a capacity of 100 gigabits

Fan App: First of its kind as a dual-mode Kings and Golden 1 Center app; first sports app to utilize a chat-bot style artificial intelligence user interface
Staying Connected: More than 1,000 next generation Wi-Fi access points; one million square feet of Wi-Fi cellular coverage

I haven’t been to the arena yet, but I asked one of my colleagues who knows Sacramento and Kings history to give me his first person experience:


"What is so striking about the new Golden 1 Center in downtown is its inclusiveness. When you are outside the building you are included into the setting by huge and welcoming floor-to-ceiling doors that allow you to see into the arena from the spacious outside concourse. While outside you can enjoy the event, be it a game or a concert, on the large 4K screens that can be seen from outside the entrance. Once inside, you are you drawn into the action before you even arrive at your seat by the openness of the interior concourse that runs around the arena. At no time are you blocked from the action. You have a clear view of the entire arena from above as you head toward your seat or to a concession area.

"It will also serve as a re-birth for the downtown community. K Street, also known as The Kay, is vibrant with new development that includes restaurants and entertainment. The development is spreading like a wave throughout the downtown area with new livable dwellings, hotels and retail that will further improve downtown. The number of cranes overhead and construction sites around show just how valuable the new Golden 1 Center will be to the area."


The point man for this come-from-behind victory for Kings fans happened to be a former NBA All-Star point guard who knew how to weave through the complicated bureaucratic traffic of big time pro sports politics. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson used his last-second heroics, persuasive powers and ability to leap tall new arena challenges in a single bound to save the day and the franchise. 

Northern California is chock full of sports and entertainment competition with the Warriors, Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Sharks, Earthquakes along with Cal, Stanford and a multiplicity of other sports and active outdoor activities. Expansion of the Kings' kingdom will take some time. The venue explosion in the market will see the Warrior’s Chase Center with a planned Mission Bay opening in 2019 and who knows what will happen with the Raiders and A’s in Oakland. Sacramento Republic FC is a leading candidate for MLS expansion along with a new place to play in the Kings' hood.

No matter how much steel, glass, technology, sustainability, connectivity, gourmet food, video magic, planning and logic go into a new arena, properly injecting heart and soul into a new sports venue is the ultimate challenge for team owners and management. Fans may fall in love with a new facility as they have with AT&T Park or the jury may be out with questions about Levi’s Stadium. It takes time for a sports venue to mature because the most important part of the equation is the fan base that fills the seats -- their time, their money, their passion for their team.


The credit union Golden 1 will pay the Kings $120 million over 20 years. 

Although its 17,500-person capacity makes the Golden 1 Center one of the NBA's smallest, the new arena includes 34 suites and 48 mini-suites. About 14 percent of the seats are premium seats, which is in line with NBA standards.


King’s owner Vivek Ranadive has called Golden 1 the "Tesla of Arenas." The only drawback with this analogy is when you lose the initial exciting charge you have to find a place to plug in when the needle points to "feed me."