Bring umbrellas with those cowbells, Kings fans

Rain expected for Golden 1 Center opening night
Rain expected for Golden 1 Center opening night rbenton@sacbee.com

Sacramento Kings fans probably should pack an umbrella along with that cowbell for tonight’s inaugural Opening Night at Golden 1 Center arena downtown.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a good chance of showers on and off starting at about 3 p.m. through game time at 7:30 p.m.

The umbrellas may be more handy after the game. Weather service meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said it looks like heavy rains could hit around 10 p.m., and last through the night. A half-inch of rain is possible in Sacramento.

The game is expected to be sellout with 17,500 in attendance. As of noon, fewer than 25 tickets were left on Ticketmaster.

For those who want to time their arrival to avoid standing in the rain, downtown arena doors are expected to open at 5:30 p.m., two hours before tip-off.

Some fans at the recent Maroon 5 concert, which took place during a heavy rain, complained that electronic scanners at the arena’s front entrance had trouble registering ticket print-outs after they were wet. Kings officials however said they do not expect any trouble tonight with the ticket readers.

Fans will have to pass through metal detectors before entering the arena plaza. Fans will be allowed into the plaza starting at 5 p.m.

Sacramento Regional Transit is offering free rides today for people with arena tickets. The two main drop-off stations downtown are near 8th and K streets, a block from the arena. For information on how to ride, go online to gosacrt.com.

City officials issued a handful of tips Thursday to arena-goers:

▪ If you plan to drive and park in a garage, reserve and pay for a spot in advance today on sacpark.org

▪ Head downtown a little early because traffic is typically slower during inclement weather

▪ Pedestrians, use crosswalks. Don’t j-walk or cut corners

▪ Drivers, take it easy. Visibility is poor in rainy conditions.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak