Arco Arena, home to the NBA Sacramento Kings is really the only game in town when it
comes to the major sports. Yes the WNBA Sacramento Monarchs also call Arco home and
Sacramento has a AAA baseball team, but the Kings are true kings around here. Since this
building opened in 1988, the arena has sold out most of the Kings games, and the fans
have been rewarded with one a team that has enjoyed great success in the very tough
Western Conference. The franchise relocated here in 1985 from Kansas City, but during
this time the ultimate prize, a world championship, has proved to be elusive.
Getting to the venue
The area north of Sacramento has exploded in recent years in terms of growth - new
subdivisions, condominiums, office parks, and in the middle of all this sits Arco Arena.
Access is off of I-5, with two exits serving the arena, and to get there you drive roughly 10
miles from downtown and the state capital.
An elaborate system of ring arounds around the complex is designed to get patrons in and
out pretty easily, although things can get snarled up here while trying to get everyone back
onto I-5 after the game! Parking costs $8, and because the complex sits on a vast tract of
open land, there are no parking alternatives so plan on ponying up the parking fee.
Outside the venue
Other than the fact that there are no neighborhoods adjacent (i.e. walking distance) to the
arena, the first thing that hits you is how nicely the grounds here are landscaped and
manicured. The ring roads and parking islands are all tree lined, and this adds a lot to the
ambience of the building. The arena is mostly tan brick with some glass accents, and
entrances are located on three sides. The building has more of a feel of an office building
in an office park rather than a dramatic looking sports venue. There really is no main or
grand entrance to the building. Ticket and will call windows can be found in a small lobby
on the south side, but one has to go back outside to get into the arena proper.
The bowl and concourses
This is a single concourse building, meaning 100 level seats you walk down and 200 level
balcony seats you take stairs up. The corridors here are tastefully done in team colors
purple and white, and the decor is evident in directional signage and concession canopies
as well. With the typical sellout crowds, these concourses get quite congested, plus there
are a bunch of point of sale kiosks scattered everywhere. In a couple of locations one can
find large videoboards showing the action inside.
The arena bowl is configured for basketball, and very intimate for a building this size. The
bowl is octagon shaped, and the floors in the seating area are made of hardwood... yes,
hardwood! This lends to a noisy and electric foot stomping atmosphere and the Kings fans
are glad to oblige. The center scoreboard has a built in noisemeter which is displayed in
each of its four sides and that thing is always jumping. Arco has the reputation of being one
of the noisiest arenas in the NBA.
Pretty diverse menu selection here at Arco and leading the pack is the garlic fries! Easily
the food with the strongest scent in the four major sports. El Pinto's Mexican food stand,
and a carving station offering turkey and smoked tri-tip sandwiches, with a caesar salad or
pasta side were two stands sporting huge lines. And there is an orange juice and lemonade
stand offering the fresh squeezed stuff! There is a main team store off of the main
concourse, and several smaller souvenir stands in the corridors.
A ring of suites is located around the top of the lower level, and there are also "box suites"
in the first two rows of the upper deck, separated by a wall from the rest of the upper level
Several banners of many great players of the Royals/Kings franchise hang from the rafters
here at Arco....Rochester's Bob Davies and Maurice Stokes, Cincinnati's Jack Twyman and
Oscar Robertson along with KC's Tiny Archibald and Sacramemto's Mitch Richmond and
"The Sixth Man". At another baseline are banners for Sacramento's two recent Pacific
Division titles. Looking for that 1951 NBA title banner???? Rumor has it that it's in some
storeroom in Rochester's Blue Cross Arena.....trust us folks that's not a joke!
Slam dunks, assists, fouls...
Assist...If you are visiting Sacramento the coolest place to go see is Old Sacramento, right
on the fringes of downtown. There are a lot of old historic buildings, lots of shopping and
places to eat, and the area resembles an old town from the wild west like you would see on
the old western shows. Even some hitching posts for your horse! (Police were riding on
horseback - photo opps a plenty!)
Slam dunk... High above the arena is a facility called the Skyline Restaurant, and here one
can find a pre game buffet, open bar during the game, and the Kings post game show
broadcast from this location with fans invited to stick around. Best of all, this nice amenity
is open to all ticketholders.
Slam dunk... The arena's four sided scoreboard has an actual noise meter built into each
corner. None of those artificial "c'mon fans make some noise" graphics needed here!
Slam Dunk... of course, our karma strikes again in our return visit as the Kings knock off the
Sonics by a 117-101 count. The Kings do rather well here on their turf, but let's not kid
ourselves here...it was our presence that brought the win for the Kings on this evening.
This is one of the best basketball experiences in the NBA, and here's why. Win or lose, the
Kings have been SRO since they moved here in the 80's. The fans love their Kings, and
since this is the only major team in town, is a real source of civic and community pride(The
Green Bay of the NBA perhaps?!).
The noise and electricity in the building almost has the feel of a college venue. Next, the
building is intimately configured for basketball - an octagon shaped seating bowl, and
excellent seating angles from anywhere in the arena. What would add so much to this
venue is if it were located downtown. But this is the state capital, and we can only assume
that the downtown core is dedicated for government purposes and would not be suitable
for sports venues of this kind (not to be outdone, the AAA baseball Sacramento Rivercats
have opened themselves a wonderful ballpark in the most wretched part of town, but we
digress). We like Sacramento, if only because it is a bit off the sports road tripping beaten
path. And having a winning team in a very competitive Western Conference sure adds to
Food and team store 7
Scoreboard and electronics 4
Fan support 10
Location and neighborhood 4
Banners and history 9
In game entertainment 6
Concourses/fan comfort 4
Bonus: Scoreboard noise meter/wood floors 1 Banners and team history spanning 4 cities
Cleveland Cavaliers at
Seattle Supersonics at