Sacramento Kings thinking different with possible indoor-outdoor arena

Conceptual drawing of Downtown Plaza arena exterior (AECOM)

When it comes to planning a new state of the art arena for the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé and company hope to raise the bar.  They want to build an “iconic” venue that will turn heads, raise eyebrows and be considered one of the best sports facilities not just in the NBA, but in the entire world.

During his introductory press conference as the newest investor in the Kings franchise, Shaquille O’Neal offered a glimpse into the ownership group’s vision for the proposed downtown arena, sharing that the complex will have possibly have “indoor-outdoor” features.  But what exactly does that mean?

“Well, we’re not going to let the secret out, but it’ll have a nice component to it that will allow indoor or outdoor,” fellow Kings co-owner Mark Mastrov said to Cowbell Kingdom following O’Neal press conference yesterday morning.  “And we can do a lot of things with it – whether you want to bring X-Games in, whether you want to do concerts.”

Past arena concepts have included some aspect of outdoor viewing.  The railyards plan hatched by the city and AEG in 2012 proposed some means of viewing concerts, Kings games and other events at the arena’s exterior.  Mastrov suggested to the Sacramento Bee “that the arena’s bowl could be partially viewable from outdoors via sliding glass walls.”

“We’ll have a very flexible arena that’s unlike anything before,” Mastrov added in his comments to Cowbell Kingdom. “But it’ll leverage a little bit of what the NFL’s done and what Major League Baseball’s done and we’ll bring it to basketball.”

Perhaps that means a retractable roof.  There are six stadiums in Major League Baseball and four in the NFL that boast retractable roofs.  O’Neal suggested that that could be a possibility.

“Something like that,” the four-time NBA champion former franchise arch nemesis said.  “When he (Ranadivé) explained it to me, I didn’t (quite understand).  I was like ‘okay’.  But when he showed me on paper, (I thought) nice ,very nice.”

Ranadivé likens modern-day sports arenas and stadiums to “a communal fireplace where people gather” and that they don’t differ that much from “the coliseums of 2,000 years ago” in the ancient Roman empire.  The Kings majority owner suggested that the proposed new downtown arena will have the capacity to hold not just 18,000 people within its confines, but an additional 10,000 outside of the complex.

“The challenge that we put forth to the team is this has to be the most iconic arena on the planet,” Ranadivé said yesterday. “And when there are planes flying from San Francisco to New York, you’re gonna be able going to be able to look down and say, ‘That’s the Kings arena, they’re playing and there’s something special happening down there.”

City Council unanimously agrees to ticket surcharge on Sleep Train Arena events 

In a footnote to yesterday’s festivities surrounding Shaquille O’Neal, the Sacramento City Council showed a rare form of unity last night, voting unanimously to support a five-percent ticket fee on all events at Sleep Train Arena.  The surcharge will help pay down the Kings’ outstanding debt on the loan given to them by the city in 1997.  Council also voted 9-0 in support of a recommendation recognizing that the Kings will reimburse the city for any costs incurred during the predevelopment stages of the proposed new arena.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.