The Kings basketball team has a new lease on life in Sacramento - with new owners, a new coach and plans for a new downtown arena. By week's end, officials say they expect to have solid evidence that their fan following has dramatically swelled as well.
The team is opening Sleep Train Arena doors this week for season ticket holders to write checks and pick out their seats for next season.
More than 90 percent of last year's season ticket holders have renewed, team spokesman Chris Clark said, and several thousand new season ticket buyers are expected to select seats as well today and Wednesday.
By Friday, Clark said the team may see season ticket sales approaching the numbers the team had in its playoff years.
"We expect to have more new season tickets sold than any previous season over the last seven years," Clark said. "We're talking about a decade of excitement built up."
Kings officials declined to divulge actual sales numbers. But Clark said the team has seen a surge in ticket requests since a new ownership group won NBA approval last month to buy the team.
The sale came after months of uncertainty about the team's future. The previous owners, the Maloof family, attempted to sell the Kings to a Seattle group. The NBA rejected the Seattle move. Instead, a California-based group led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive purchased the team and signed with city officials to jointly finance a new arena downtown, to open in 2016.
The ownership group hired 50 workers to sell tickets, Clark said. "It's like a layer of dust has been brushed off. You have what feels like a movement."
Sleep Train Arena will also be open Thursday afternoon for people who want to buy season tickets and pick out seats, but who have not yet placed a deposit.
Seat prices will remain the same for renewing season ticket holders. Some prices will be increased for new buyers in high-demand sections, officials said.
The least expensive seats - about 1,000 in the upper tier - will go for $15 per game, or $660 for a season ticket. The most expensive courtside seats will go for $1,300 a game.
A handful of courtside seats already are set aside for the team owners. "The owners will have their feet on the floor," said Phil Horn, a team vice president.
Ranadive, lead partner in the ownership group, has said he expects to fly to Sacramento for all home games, and to attend some away games as well.
Team officials said they will sell multiple-game ticket packages and single game tickets later, but have not yet set a date for those sales.
Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.