The Sacramento Kings and the city of Sacramento are finalizing a bid to land the NBA All-Star Game in either 2022 or 2023, team and city officials said Thursday.
The City Council will vote Tuesday on providing “general support” for the All-Star bid, which will include an entertainment pavilion on Capitol Mall, cruise ships to host out-of-town guests and dedicated traffic lanes for visitors.
Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadive said in a written statement that more details on the bid will be announced next week and that the team will present its bid to the NBA on Feb. 23.
“Golden 1 Center has been a great spark for the city and building on that momentum, we have assembled an unprecedented plan to host a global celebration of basketball at the All-Star Game in Sacramento,” Ranadive said in a written statement.
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Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in an interview that the city is “ready to play a very significant role to partner with the Kings in all the right ways.”
“We’re an all-star city and we’ve earned this,” the mayor said. “It would be great for the NBA and for the city.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Sacramento Bee in October 2016 that the league was determined to bring the All-Star Game here. However, the commissioner said the city was “thousands” of hotel rooms short of the inventory needed to host the league’s premier event. One idea that has been discussed is accommodating fans on cruise ships docked in the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento.
A city staff report said city officials “will support the use of passenger vessels and assist in securing appropriate anchoring and/or docking locations.”
The 250-room Sawyer Hotel recently opened next to Golden 1 Center, the city has plans for a 350-room hotel next to the Sacramento Convention Center and work should begin soon on a 170-room Hyatt Centric boutique hotel on Seventh Street downtown. Even with those additions, the city is still significantly short of the hotel stock the NBA requires of an All-Star city.
An All-Star Game and the related activities are “likely to be the biggest sporting event that we could attract to Golden 1 Center,” according to the city staff report. Some events draw 100,000 people.
With those huge crowds comes added pressure for host cities.
“These events typically dominate a downtown environment and require significant public resources, including public safety and security, transportation, traffic and pedestrian management, event management, public facility use, and the use of public open spaces,” the city staff report reads. “In return, these events bring significant economic activity and international exposure to the host City.”
The key elements of the city’s support for the bid include an emergency preparedness plan. The city’s police force and NBA security officials will need to agree on a security plan, including how many officers will be dedicated to the events and how and when bomb sweeps will be conducted.
The city may also be asked to dedicate traffic lanes to people traveling between All-Star weekend event spaces so that guests can get from one venue to another in under 30 minutes. “The City will support the goal of 30 minute intervals and the use of dedicated lanes where appropriate for All-Star approved vehicles to include autonomous vehicles,” according to the staff report.
Capitol Mall may also play a key role in the bid. The Kings want to use Capitol Mall “as a location for a Global Pavilion that would host international events, food and entertainment,” according to the staff report.
“The City will support the Kings and work with area stakeholders in permitting Capitol Mall as an event venue from the Capitol to Tower Bridge, including temporary street closures while minimizing impacts on area businesses and ensuring public safety access,” the staff report reads.
Specific requests of the city will come back for City Council approval.