Almost three-quarters of people who attended a Sacramento Kings game in the past year read The Bee in print or online.
As it turns out, a greater percentage of Bee readers attend the games – 16 percent – than of the region as a whole, 12 percent, according to a 2011 Scarborough survey. These numbers don't include fans who watch at home.
The Kings evoke strong passions in this region, from loyal fans to those who quit watching when the team quit winning. But the local conversation abruptly became more civic-minded last year when the Maloofs threatened to move the team unless Sacramento leaders figured out by this March how to pay for a new arena.
Our news reporters will continue to be watchdogs on arena plans, particularly as decisions are made about public money.
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On the sports side, we're going to have a bit of fun.
Start gearing up at sacbee.com at 4 p.m. game days as Bee sports reporter Matt Kawahara writes about the players to watch and key stats to note that night.
Then when the Kings play at home, "we want to give fans a bigger voice and presence in our coverage," said Tom Negrete, The Bee's managing editor.
Pull out your laptop or tablet as you watch the game (or a smartphone if you're at the game). At sacbee.com you can talk to Bee reporters or other fans by tuning in to our live chat. Hosted by Kawahara, who will be at the game, you can ask questions, add commentary, discuss stats, join in reader polls and keep an eye on tweets from The Bee's Kings reporter, Jason Jones.
During the recent home game against New Orleans, fans joined the chat to learn more about why Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was sent home by coach Paul Westphal, who was fired Thursday in the aftermath of that decision. Kawahara said the chat was "a promising step" for a conversation during the game, and in this case it was all about Cousins and frustration with the way the team has been playing. Fans can talk to each other as well as to Kawahara.
You also can check out who is at the game when freelancer Blake Ellington, whose Bleed Black and Purple blog is part of The Bee's Sacramento Connect network, posts pictures of fans to sacbee.com's Snapshots gallery.
We've been experimenting with new photo galleries as well, testing a process this past week in which Bee photographers post photos almost the moment they're shot, which should give you an opportunity to see a vivid freeze frame of key action.
Jones and Bee columnist Ailene Voisin continue to write a Kings blog, in which you can find news as it breaks, in addition to their unique coverage in the printed Bee. And each day at 9 a.m. the blog includes a tip sheet compiled by Nate Miller, an online content producer, who takes highlights of coverage from Jones, Voisin and Kawahara and, to save you time, adds links to any top Kings news.
Such intense coverage is designed for fans, and I've had those who aren't interested complain to me about the coverage in the paper. One reader last Monday emailed me that our coverage "has surpassed the saturation point."
Yet part of our mission is to entertain. New technology gives us greater ability to help you engage and have fun. While our news reporters will continue to monitor efforts by city leaders to figure out how to build a new arena – and thus keep the Kings in town – our sports experts are all about the fun.
BREAKING NEWS AND VIDEO
Game coverage. Live chats for all home games. Daily tip sheet. sacbee.com/kingsblog
ON TWITTER: Beat writer Jason Jones on Twitter. twitter.com/mr_jasonjones
SNAPSHOTS: See fun photos of fans from every home game. sacbee.com/snapshots