To be honest, I wasn't going to watch the Sacramento Kings potential last game last..."/> To be honest, I wasn't going to watch the Sacramento Kings potential last game last..."/>

Here We Stay: Saying “Goodbye” to the Sacramento Kings


To be honest, I wasn’t going to watch the Sacramento Kings potential last game last night.

The NHL Playoffs were on, and being a Vancouver Canucks fan their game conflicted with me watching the game. But the Canucks game ended early and despite Sacramento being down by double digits in the fourth, I decided to tune in and see a sold-out Arco Arena one more time.

I love the Kings, when I first started following and watching basketball, they were the team I played with on NBA Live, when I started becoming more of a basketball nerd the Kings/Lakers rivalry was something I watched on bootlegged Youtube videos over and over. I am a huge Fab Five fan so Chris Webber is one of my favorite players, Jason Williams on the Kings is something I can talk about for hours. So this was something that I had to watch.

I was glad I did.

As most of you know by now, the Kings gave Sacramento one last memory and that “Arco Thunder” we haven’t heard in a long time came back for one final quarter. And even though Kobe ruined the moment, we were all still treated to a special moment.

But after all the tweets, talking about the great memories the Kings have given us through the years and how we are going to miss them, I had a very uneasy feeling about this whole situation.

I started to think about the whole situation, about how a fan base that has supported a team that for the last 25 years hasn’t exactly been the greatest basketball product. But when the Kings got a winner, they got behind it and were one of the toughest arenas to play in for most of the late ’90s and early 2000’s.

It is understandable that the kings attendance numbers are down, when you haven’t made the playoffs in awhile and are rebuilding, that’s what happens. It is common sense to assume that with losing come less attendance, especially in a small market where going to a Kings game isn’t a event like going to watch the Lakers, Knicks, or Celtics is.

But that does not mean the Kings fans have stopped supporting the team and that basketball is dead there, which would justify a move to another city.

Consider these attendance stats:

  • The Sacramento Kings have the most sell-outs out of any team in the NBA since their inaugural year (1990-91)
  • Arco Arena’s sell-out capacity is only 300 seats more than the NBA’s average home attendance
  • If the Sacramento Kings SOLD OUT every home game they would be ranked No. 15 in attendance
  • Except the strike shortened 1998-99 season The Kings have had one season in the entire 26 years of their Sacramento existence in which the team was over .500 and ARCO wasn’t sold out every game

Let me repeat that. Every time the Kings were competitive, Arco Arena was filled for EVERY game. That is something you rarely see in today’s NBA, where you get situations like in Atlanta and Miami where there are empty seats for potential playoff match ups.

Combine the factors of having a losing team and a small arena and it makes sense why the Kings attendance numbers look bad. When you have to fill an arena every night with a losing team that struggles to compete just to finish in the middle of attendance, you are destined to fail. The only thing the Kings attendance records indicate is that Arco Arena needs remodelling or a new arena needs to be built and nothing else.

“Relocation is a move to temporarily increase ticket sales for a poor product” Think about it. The only example of a recent relocation situation that is a clear success is Oklahoma City, and that is due to the fact that they are winning early in their existence.

Teams like Memphis and New Orleans have experienced problems selling tickets when their teams aren’t contending and you could argue the point that without the spike in attendance you get from being a new team that New Orleans and Memphis would have relatively the same ticket sales as the cities before them had.

So will moving a team to Orange County, a city that already has the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, the MLB’s Angels and two NBA franchises within driving distance be a viable long-term market for the NBA? No, but they have a new arena and the Maloof brothers clearly won’t go back to Arco Arena under any circumstances.

This is the new era of the NBA, and professional sports for that matter. The small markets that grow a bond with their team don’t get to keep them, but if you build a new arena they will find a way to get a team in that building no matter the cost.

No one wants to see this, no city deserves this, but as we hear over and over again sports is a business, even though it isn’t.

Basketball is probably leaving Sacramento, and I am still holding out hope that a great fan base gets their new arena and keeps their team. I just hope that this is the last time that we as NBA fans let a city lose their team under these circumstances.

Thanks Sacramento for all the memories.

Side Note: Follow @HereWeStay on twitter for more updates on the situation in Sacramento