Stepping up efforts to design and market a downtown arena, the Sacramento Kings have emailed an online survey to some 60,000 residents and businesses asking for opinions – and testing the waters for potential upscale ticket buyers.
Team President Chris Granger said the team and city officials have not yet decided on basic arena elements, such as how many seats it will have, and is looking for clues from the public.
"I want to hear what other people think about the venue," Granger said about the survey and other upcoming community outreach efforts.
Initial estimates had put seating at 18,500, which is 1,200 more than at the current Sleep Train Arena in Natomas. Granger recently said that number may be too high. He said the facility has to have enough seats to attract most major concerts but should be intimate enough to boost crowd noise and excitement at Kings games.
"So then we start to wrestle with what is the right size; I think smaller is better," Granger said. "A tighter seating bowl adds to the enjoyment of everything that is happening."
The survey, sent out last Friday by the Kings in conjunction with the city, attempts to assess how many people might attend various non-Kings events at a downtown arena, and asks people to rate the importance of amenities such as enhanced Wi-Fi, added bars, restaurants, a children's play area and plush seats.
The survey includes questions assessing community and business interest in buying luxury suites, loge boxes, and club seats.
Kings officials plan to choose an architectural firm, with help from city officials, next week to lead the effort to come up with a design by October for an arena to be located in Downtown Plaza, roughly in the J, K, Fifth and Sixth streets area.
Granger said the team goal is to build "the most technologically enabled building in the word." He said that could include a method of allowing event- goers to use their smartphones to order food from their seats.
Under the tentative term sheet agreement with the city of Sacramento, the city will own the facility and commit bond funds – backed mainly by city downtown parking revenue – for its construction. But the team will run the facility and be responsible for extra costs if the facility budget goes over the planned $448 million.
Construction is scheduled to begin next year, with a 2016 opening date. A group is circulating a petition asking for the arena deal to be put to public vote next year.
HOW TO TAKE THE SURVEY
The Kings and the city of Sacramento have posted links to the arena survey on their websites. They can be found at www.cityofsacramento.org/arena and www.nba.com/kings/downtown-sacramento-arena- survey
Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.