A new arena is going up. There's optimism that the team may squeak into the playoffs. And local interest in the Sacramento Kings, as evidenced by paid game attendance and internet searches, is at the highest point since the mid-2000's.
So far this year, about 17,285 fans have, on average, attended each Kings home game. That's a 25 percent improvement over the doldrums of 2012-13, when it looked like the Kings might move to Seattle, and the highest average attendance since the 2006-07 season.
It's also close to a sellout crowd at every game. (Capacity at Sleep Train Arena is just over 17,300.) Until recently, the Kings sold out every game most seasons.
This is the last year in Sleep Train Arena. And season ticket holders this season get priority seating for next year in the new arena.
Another indicator that interest in the Kings is way up: More Sacramento residents are searching for the team than during any period in a decade. Sacramento-area searches for the LA Lakers, the Kings' main rival for fan affection in the Sacramento area, have hit a new low relative to searches for the Kings, according to Google traffic data.
The question remains whether the Kings can keep up this level of enthusiasm for the rest of the season. The key will likely be the team's performance. Attendance and interest has fallen late in several of the last seasons as the Kings struggled.