Kings Arena Big But Small

Continuing the trend of bigger venues with fewer seats, the new Sacramento Kings arena will seat a relatively mere 17,500 fans, but Kings executives plan to more than make up for the deficit.

“There will be a massive change in comfort, in amenities, in concessions,” Kings President Chris Granger told the Sacramento Bee, comparing the new arena with the aging in the California capital city. “That’s why we’re doing it.” Construction on the $470 million facility in downtown Sacramento is to begin in late July. 

While the new arena would seat 200 fewer fans than Sleep Train, it will feature twice as many premium seats, including luxury seats and lofts, as well as far more seats in the lower bowl. At 750,000 square feet, it will actually be 70 percent larger than the venue originally known as Arco Arena, according to the Bee.

“You want to make sure you have demand,” sports marketing consultant Bill Sutton told the paper. “Having 17,000 seats and a waiting list is better than 22,000 seats.”

The newest NBA stadium,  in Brooklyn, holds a similar capacity, continuing a trend that began to ramp up in the late ’90s with the Portland Trailblazers pulling 1,500 seats out of the Rose Garden (now ). Charlotte rejoined the NBA in 2004 with the new, 19,070-seat  Arena.

Still, even with as much as 15 percent of its seats considered premium, the new Kings arena will be fairly modest by NBA standards.

You know the deal: We have zero Fortune 1000 companies in Sacramento,” Granger told the Bee. “What we do have in Sacramento is a lot of small- and mid-sized professional-service firms that might enjoy something smaller than a suite that still carries the same amenities, that still carries the same privacy, that still carries the same VIP experience for their clients or their employees.”