When I heard that the Board of Governors vote was going to be held on May 15th, nearly two weeks after the relocation committee's 7-0 vote (felt like months ago to be honest), I was disappointed the end game wasn't quite there yet. It's the same feeling you'd get while driving for minutes behind a super slow driver on a one lane road, and you see your street and just need to turn right, but the light shows red and the driver in front of you didn't leave enough space to eek into your street. Your eye twitches like crazy, and you can already feel that satisfying moment when you open that garage door and sit in your couch. The only difference between this hypothetical situation and the Kings relocation drama is that your butt might spontaneously burst into flames from sitting in your car for so long instead of your heart from fiery passion. (Random, I know, but I felt like I needed an analogy there for some reason)
Just like everyone here, I can't wait until this relocation saga is finally over. It's been a long and winded process, and quite frankly, a really draining for fans and the community. Seriously, this relocation thing makes a Dragonball Z fight scene feel like a Disney short. I can only imagine what a grind this is to those who are directly involved in this. They deserve massive props and respect for keeping their sanity while indadvertedly taking ours one retweet at a time.
Anyhoo, March 15th. The Board of Governors vote. The be all, end all of this (hopefully, I hope I don't jinx it). Which happened to be the same day as I'm presenting my final speech for my speech class. My topic? Surprise, it's about the Kings and how the team is important to the city. It's a speech I've been wanting to do since I signed up for the class, and I finally get my chance to do it. Fitting that my final presentation is going to be the same day as Kevin Johnson and his group have their final presentation. I want it on record that I didn't wish the BoG vote to be the same day as my speech, but hell, as a strong believer of destiny, I'll take it.
So here it is, my final speech about the Kings, and I'm proud to share it with the community that drove my passion for this team.
It's no question that sports have an impact on communities. Many here proudly remember the Giants winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012, and the 49ers playing in the Super Bowl this year. Now, imagine if these two teams are stripped away. The collective pride in the cities, homes, and this classroom would simply fade away. This scenario could be a reality for Sacramento as it fights to build a new arena and keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. It's a struggle where the importance of a sports team to a city has never been clearer. This is an issue that affects the whole community, not just basketball fans. The team serves to drive a revitalization of downtown Sacramento through the creation of a new arena. In an NBA Board of Governors press conference on April 3, 2013, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson affirms that this is larger than basketball and isn't just about a building. He asserts that, "It's about jobs, economic development, and the transformation of a downtown community." Keeping the Kings in Sacramento and the construction of a new arena downtown is a vital result that will lead to the city's advancement. Today, I'll present the Kings' cultural value, economic impact, and social significance to the city of Sacramento.
First, let's explore the team's cultural value to the region. Despite subpar seasons on the court, the Kings have been a cultural cornerstone in Sacramento. Like Green Bay and Oklahoma City, Sacramento is a small market, one-team city. And just like these two cities, the Sacramento community had unbelievable support for its team. According to the Associated Press on January 21st of this year, the Kings hold two of the longest sellout streaks in NBA history and have sold out 19 of 27 seasons. Sacramento proves its love affair with the Kings by selling out 497 games in a row. The team also impacts Sacramento's national image. Keep in mind that NBA games are broadcasted throughout the U.S. and internationally. Without the Kings, the capital of the 9th largest economy in the world, would be without a major sports team. Hence, the Sacramento Kings provide a cultural visibility for California's capital and its region. Others may argue that the Golden State Warriors are nearby, thus making the Kings expendable. Not only are the Warriors in a different market, but also a different culture than the Kings. If I were to tell Giants and A's fans, or 49ers and Raiders fans to switch fan bases, I probably won't get many takers. This will be the same for the Sacramento Kings community, whom share a culture filled with pride and loyalty. Now that we've seen how the team is embedded in the city's cultural identity, let's look at the economic impact of the Kings in Sacramento.
The Sacramento Kings and a potential new downtown arena are pivotal to the city's economy. The Sacramento area was one of the hardest hit regions by the recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last checked on April 10, 2013, the unemployment rate in Sacramento is 9.6%, and is 79th highest among US metropolitan areas. Thousands of jobs are at stake with the team. From the arena's parking staff, the ticketing offices, to the ice cream vendors and ushers, all of those jobs will be lost without the Kings. Just like Kevin Johnson said, this is bigger than basketball. If the team stays and a new arena is built, more jobs will be created. The jobs at Sleep Train Arena are safe, and more will be made to build and manage a new arena. Nick Monacelli from News 10 reports on March 26, 2013 that $1 billion dollars will be invested in the downtown plaza if Sacramento is successful, all without a tax increase. This downtown development translates to more restaurants, bars, hotels, and other entertainment that would boost the economic and cultural value of the Sacramento region. Now that we've explored the economic value of the team, let's explore the third piece of importance: the social significance of the team.
The Sacramento Kings and a new downtown arena hold a strong social significance to the city. Without a major tenant, Sleep Train Arena will likely lose events and the city won't have a new arena built. Keeping the Kings, however, has a large effect on the community as a whole. The obvious social impact for keeping the Kings is that casual and passionate basketball fans can still enjoy NBA games live. At the same time, a new downtown arena can also be exciting for non-basketball fans. A revitalized downtown opens up possibilities for new events for Sacramento beyond the Kings. In his State of the City Address on February 28, 2013, Mayor Johnson stated that his group plans to make a "mini LA Live," or "Sacramento Live." This means more concerts, events, restaurants, bars, and entertainment will be implemented in downtown Sacramento. No one will ever say there isn't much to do in Sacramento. The downtown development would transform the city into a vibrant hub for people of various ages, genders, and interests.
The Kings' importance to the city of Sacramento is hard to deny with the team's cultural value, economic impact, and social significance. We've explored the love affair between the Kings and the small market Sacramento, and how the team represents a cultural symbol for its region. The economic impact directly affects the community, as thousands of jobs hang in the balance. One direction strikes another blow to a hard hit city, while another brings an economic renewal. Finally, the social significance of the Kings and a new arena provides possibilities for transforming Sacramento by infusing excitement through an all-encompassing social hub. Just like the 49ers and the Giants, sports teams bring out passion and vigor within communities. With its team and future in the balance, Sacramento's fight shows why it's small market with a big heart.
I noticed that it's a long read, so thanks for your time. Here We Stay.