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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

Golden 1 Center – Sacramento Kings

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Golden 1 Center 500 David J Stern Walk Sacramento, CA 95814

Year Opened: 2016

Capacity: 17,608


Golden 1 Center is Also Green and Platinum

The history of the Royals / Kings franchise has been one of a vagabond existence. It began as the Royals in Rochester, NY, then moved on to Cincinnati for several years. Its next home was split between Kansas City/Omaha and resulted in a name change to the Kings to avoid confusion with the baseball Royals. In 1985, it relocated to Sacramento, hoping to break the seeming jinx of being a small market franchise competing against the larger metropolitan areas. The team is now celebrating its 35th anniversary in California’s capitol city. However as late as 2010, the team was rumored to be moving to either Anaheim or Seattle due to an unsatisfactory arena arrangement and a losing record.

That changed in 2016, as the city and a new ownership group opened the Golden 1 Center as the anchor for the new Downtown Commons (DOCO) district in downtown Sacramento. The 17,608-seat venue replaced the aging Sleep Train Arena (formerly ARCO Arena). The arena features 10,000 lower level seats with 34 luxury suites and 48 loft style suites. The remaining 7,000 upper level seats are steeply pitched so that the sight lines anywhere in the arena are excellent.

What really sets the Golden 1 Center apart from its NBA brethren is its commitment to be the greenest and most environmentally friendly venue in professional sports. This has resulted in receiving a Platinum LEED certification, the top recognition for being environmentally sustainable in the world. This is accomplished through virtually every aspect of the arena’s operation. The venue is the only professional sports arena in the world to operate totally on solar power, thanks to solar panels covering the roof. The facility is cooled by opening 80-foot-high hangar doors to allow the Delta breezes prevalent in the area to flow through the arena. The greenery on the exterior walls of the facility includes food sources for the concession stands.

Food & Beverage 5

One of the first things you need to know is that Sacramento is known as America’s Farm to Fork Capital. The concessions at Golden 1 Center are notable for the absence of the large corporate style stands. The Kings have a policy of having 90% of its concessions come from local businesses and farms within a 150-mile radius of the arena. This is known as the “Food to Court” principle. This reduces the carbon footprint by lessening the distance trucks or trains travel to deliver the foods. It also supports the local business community. Any leftover foods at the end of the game are either donated to area shelters or used for composting if it is in a half-eaten state. This reduces waste and saves room in area landfills.

What this means for fans is guaranteed fresh foods and a wonderful variety of vendors to choose from. Amongst the locally owned businesses serving the crowds are Big Cheese Dog House, Block Butcher Bar Sandwiches, Café Bernardo, Centro Cocina Mexicano, El Jefe, Lowbrau Bierhall, Paragary’s Pizza, Petra Greek Market Café and Smokehouse BBQ. You’ll feel like your meal came straight from the farmer’s market!

A sampling of prices for some of the more unique menu offering includes lamb and beef Gyros ($12), veggie burrito bowls ($13), fish tacos ($12), lemongrass tofu bowls ($12) and grass-fed burgers ($12).

Beverage selections include Coca-Cola brand sodas ($6), bottled water is $6 and domestic beers go for $13. Sacramento is also known as a craft brewing hotbed. Locally sourced beers include Sierra Nevada, Sactown Union, Oak Park Brewing, Kneedeep Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Out of Bounds Brewing and Bear Republic. These beers sell for between $14 – $16.

Atmosphere 4

Once inside the arena you will be very impressed by the openness of the facility. If you enter through the main gate, you will soon come to the plaza overlooking the playing court. It is a great place for a selfie. The venue offers wide concourses and the seats are wider than you find in most modern arenas, making for a very comfortable experience for the next few hours. The concourses are open to the court so you should not miss any of the action

The Kings owner made his fortune in the technology field and you will notice he did not scrimp on the electronics in the Golden 1 Center. The center hung scoreboard is one of the largest in the NBA. It measures 84 feet long (the entire length of a basketball court is 94 feet). The panel on the board measure 44 feet wide by 24 feet tall. In addition, two 25-foot-tall screens will greet you as you enter the facility.

Neighborhood 4

The Golden 1 Center is the centerpiece of the Downtown Commons (DOCO) development in downtown Sacramento. The four-block area includes restaurants like Sauced BBQ and Spirits, Yard House, and Punchbowl Social. It also features movie theaters, boutique shops and national retailers like Macy’s and Urban Outfitters.

The Old Sacramento Waterfront, the California State Railroad Museum and the California State Capitol Building, three of Sacramento’s top tourist attractions, are just a few blocks from Downtown Commons.

Fans 4

Of all the markets the Kings have played in, the fans in Sacramento are by far the most loyal. The Kings are the only top-level professional team in the area, so there is little competition for the sports dollar in a household. Since moving to Sacramento, the Kings have won only two division titles, as they play in the very tough Western Conference Pacific Division against the likes of Golden State, the LA Lakers, the LA Clippers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The team has taken several of these teams to a seventh game of a series in the playoffs. There is great hope that new coach, Luke Walton, can work with the young and talented roster to build a playoff contender in coming years. Despite the lack of banners hanging from the rafters, Kings fans regularly fill the Golden 1 Center.

Access 4

Getting to Golden 1 Center is a breeze no matter what form of transportation you use. 15% of Kings fans walk, bike or take public transportation to get to the games. There are five Sacramento Regional Transit (SRT) light rail stations within a few blocks of the arena along K Street. The Sacramento Valley Station is also nearby and is the second busiest Amtrak Station in the state of California. This all cuts down on emissions that can harm the environment.

If you are driving, the arena can be reached via exit 515 B from I-5 (J Street/Downtown Sacramento). There are more than 13,000 parking spaces in and around DOCO. The Sacramento International Airport is only 12 miles from the venue, so you may not need to rent a car while in town.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets to a Kings game average $48. Games against the Lakers, Clippers or Warriors usually will spike the prices a great deal. Parking at Downtown Commons lots costs $25 and can be pre-purchased at .Travel on Sacramental Regional Transit busses and light rail trains cost $7 for a one day unlimited rides pass or single rides for $2.50. Concession prices are typical of most professional arenas, but the quality and freshness of the foods is well worth it. Compared with larger cities, a Sacramento Kings game offers an excellent return on investment.

Extras 5

The official street address for the arena is 500 David Stern Walk. This is a salute to the former NBA commissioner who worked tirelessly over several years to keep the Kings franchise in Sacramento.

The Golden 1 Center is located just blocks from both the California State Capitol building and the Old Sacramento Riverfront, two of Sacramento’s top tourist attractions.

In addition to Kings games, the arena has also hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2017.

The Sacramento Kings practice facility is attached to the Golden 1 Center and fans can watch the team prepare before a game through windows on the concourse.

Public Art is also abundant at the Golden 1 Center. Jeff Koon’s Coloring Book #4 sculpture is hard to miss as you head through the main entrance.

Final Thoughts

Large venues can do lots of harm to the environment through heavy car emissions, trash, heavy use of carbon producing gases. Golden 1 Center is a winner in minimizing these harmful issues and should be a blueprint for future athletic facilities. Winning off the court can be just as important as winning on the court as far as our environment. The Kings new ownership is investing heavily to accomplish both of these goals.


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