The new Golden 1 Center is an amazing building that is going to offer Sacramento Kings fans a completely new experience when they attend games.
There will be, after all, an impressive list of local foods available, a 4K HD video board, enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities, a unique sky bridge where fans can mingle and watch the game and see sweeping views of downtown at the same time, cushioned seating and more. It is a first-class venue. Some fans have recently expressed concern, however, about something that is new on the upper-level seats – no cup holders.
The reason for this, according to Kings President, Chris Granger, is related to the design of the upper bowl. The Kings wanted to get all the fans in attendance close to floor by making the upper level pretty steep. The building is more than 700,000 square feet as Sleep Train Arena was under 450,000 square feet and the team aimed to maintain the noise level from fans. To do this, the seats sit at a steep angle, which actually puts those sitting in that level closer to the court than they would have been at Sleep Train Arena. (I can attest to this as I sat in the last row of seating on Tuesday and the photo above was taken from that vantage point.)
Granger explained to me how that relates to having cupholders:
“In an effort to bring our fans everywhere, but especially in the upper bowl, closer to the action, the pitch is very steep ... That means the row in front of you, the top of that chair is at the bottom of your feet. So therefore, if I were to put a cupholder on this chair like we have at Sleep Train [Arena], it’s literally going to sit on the ground. So now imagine as you walk down the row it’s cupholder, cupholder, cupholder on the row, so that’s not an option,” Granger said. “Option 2 would be to put it on your armrest. The issue with doing it on an armrest is a cupholder will stick out about five-and-half inches from the end of your arm rest. Again, when the chairs are up, now you have armrests sticking into the lane itself and by code, you can’t do that. So that’s not an option for you. So given the geometry of the upper bowl, we can’t put cup holders in.”
Granger said the team is currently looking into trying to create a prototype cupholder that wouldn’t sit five-and-half inches out.
After sitting in the upper bowl today, I can tell you the views are great and you really do feel a lot closer to the floor than you would have at Sleep Train Arena. And cupholders will probably feel like a small issue once you walk into this building and see what it is like, but that all depends on how not having a cupholder will impact your viewing experience.
We will have more from the arena media tour that took place on Tuesday. Kimani Okearah joined me on the tour and took some video of what fans can expect when they enter the building and head to their seats so stay tuned for that.