The new crown jewel of Sacramento, better known as the Golden 1 Center, opened in October.
And I attended the Kings’ first game in their new, $566.6 million home when they faced Maccabi Haifa in a preseason game on Oct. 10.
The element that stands out the most throughout the arena is the vast amount of tech.
The massive 4K scoreboard hangs above the court. It’s about the size of two semi-trucks stacked on each other, making it the world’s largest indoor scoreboard. And it holds the title for the highest resolution in the NBA.
Automated turnstiles allow fans to scan their tickets, whether they are printed or on their phones, and enter quickly.
One of the coolest complements to the arena is the Kings’ new smartphone app.
Unfortunately, the most intriguing parts of the app were unavailable to me because it was only a preseason game and they were still finalizing it.
The app is supposed to allow fans to see real-time lines for concessions, and get food delivered to their seats.
The arena has 40-foot hangar doors hovering over the main entrance that can be opened or closed for events. When I attended, they were open to allow the Delta breeze to cool the inside.
The doors are not the only eco-friendly technology feature the arena has either.
Solar panels cover nearly the whole roof of the Golden 1 Center. And they can meet all of the arena’s energy needs.
When I first walked in, I got a panoramic view of the whole arena.
The scene was really amazing. That’s when it clicked that this world-class sports facility was actually here in Sacramento.
But I had little time for excitement before my nose picked up on some appetizing smells.
The arena offers sushi, gyros, rice bowls, burgers, shakes, kebabs, tacos and more. These options are much more appetizing than the heated-up frozen pretzels at Sleep Train Arena.
Every time I passed a concession stand, I was tempted to buy something. But there was something holding me back: the price.
Overpriced food and beverages are staples of most concerts or sports games.
But the prices at the Golden 1 Center are outrageous. It’s kind of hard to justify spending $14 on a burger, $10 on a Costco-sized slice of pizza or $13 on a beer.
Now I don’t drink, but I know $13 for a domestic beer is steep.
That’s only a few dollars cheaper than what I paid for my nosebleed seats ($19, including service fees).
Which was also expensive considering how far up I was and that it was a preseason game. But those are the prices you’re going to pay for a new arena.
The upper bowl of the arena is very steep. This allows for a surprisingly decent view of the game, even though it’s so high up.
But it becomes a little sketchy trying to maneuver to your seats. Even with people standing to let me through, it was a tight fit.
The cramped pathways to seats are in the lower bowl as well.
In the inaugural event, a man was injured in the upper bowl when a woman fell on him from behind because of the steepness and narrowness.
But at least my seat was comfortable and I was able to get a decent view of the Kings demolishing a Middle Eastern team.
Overall, there are a few faults with the new arena, but the flaws don’t come close to outweighing the positives.
There is just an unwavering sense of pride that comes with having such a world-class arena here in Sacramento.
And I’m not the only one who thinks that.
Walking around, I noticed people feeding into the excitement. Most had a gleam of awe in their eyes while pointing out a piece of art (like the 400 glass globes that represent Sacramento’s rivers) or admiring the scoreboard.
Get out there in the coming months, even if you aren’t interested in basketball.