A glittering new addition to Sacramento’s downtown, Golden 1 Center opened this October with Paul McCartney in concert. This $557 million, 17,500-seat multi-use arena, which serves as the home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings as well as a year-round event calendar, does not resurrect the past but offers a convincing vision of the future of arena design.
The arena has sparked a revitalization of downtown Sacramento and celebrates the city’s climate and lifestyle with a unique indoor-outdoor design. And while Golden 1 Center is the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified indoor sports venue, going green does not mean going dull. The arena redefines the fan experience, one with intimate seating and complete connectivity for every fan.
The Seating Mix
The goal from the project’s inception was to create a new and unique experience that was intimate, close to the action, and designed for the fans. With an astounding 61% of the seats located within the lower bowl, the seating design is compact and creates a wall of fans that will become the Kings’ ultimate home-court advantage and the loudest arena in the NBA. The upper deck is horseshoe-shaped, with the open end facing the city’s skyline.
The lofts are a new and a uniquely Sacramento seating product. These cozy, casual, and open booths are like a fan’s personal living room to the game.
The bowl is a two-deck design with loft and suite levels nestled between the lower court level seats and upper seating deck. The lofts are a new and a uniquely Sacramento seating product. These cozy, casual, and open booths are like a fan’s personal living room to the game. The lofts are low and close to the action, and offer big, plush lounge seating and a communal standing drink rail.
The suites are designed to look and feel like urban lofts, with natural and warm materials that are sophisticated but inviting at the same time. They are open and large, with a center common table to bring fans together over drinks and four-star cuisine.
Bringing the Outside In
The overall theme of Golden 1 Center is “bringing the outside in”, which is true for all public spaces and concourses. Rather than the dark, closed-in corridors of earlier arenas, the center is open to the outside, with high-volume atrium spaces flooded with light and local art. The design reflects the optimistic and forward-looking people and culture of northern California. Ringed with balconies and open bridges, the concourses allow panoramic views through the arena to the action on the court and out to the city of Sacramento.
The primary entrance to the arena features large, glass retractable doors that open the arena to the outdoors and the adjacent event plaza. The arena and the Downtown Commons, or DOCO, plaza can become one space, allowing the arena to transform into a true indoor/outdoor experience. The main entry doors fold up and pocket into the building façade, creating a heroic 150-foot-wide portal that allows the natural Delta Breeze to flow into the arena.
The overall theme of Golden 1 Center is “bringing the outside in”. The arena features high-volume atrium spaces flooded with light and local art. And ringed with balconies and open bridges, the concourses allow panoramic views through the arena to the court and out to the city of Sacramento.
The portal is in-filled with two elevated bridges. These one-of-a-kind standing bridges appear to float above the main concourse and allow fans a place to stand and grab a brew, watch the game, and catch the natural breeze. The upper balcony is sponsored by and features the Sierra Nevada Draught House with its freestanding bars. The Elms, or suite level balcony, is a standing-room-only porch. This elevated concourse allows suite patrons to cruise the suite level. Two suite bars with casual seating are located on the ends of the porch, providing food and drink to the bridge.
The concessions have a completely new approach. Freestanding islands and specialty bars are placed within the circulation space, creating a street fair or a farmer’s market experience. Fans can wander, move around, pass through, and slide by these “local eats”. These new island- and peninsula-shaped concessions are not the typical arena “belly-up-to-the-counter-for-a-beer” experience. The food and cooking is now on display, simultaneously allowing views into the stands and access to concessions from multiple locations. The variety of food options will increase with local venders branding individual stands and promoting Sacramento’s unique farm-to-fork culture and cuisine.
Sky clubs, named Cask and Alchemy, are exclusive retreats. These crystal-like glass lounges project out and overlook the concourses and appear to float in the air. With direct views to the outside and to the city’s skyline, each skybox offers suite patrons their own private place to escape and hang out with friends. These intimate lounges offer multiple informal seating options along with a custom-designed bar.
The Croft, or suite club, is a spacious club designed for suite and loft ticket holders. This exclusive retreat has a farm-to-fork menu and features local microbrews and wines. Inspired and envisioned as a “modern barn,” the club is open to both the action on the court and views to the concourses below. The club provides multiple seating options with large wood harvest tables, high-top tables and chairs, and plush lounge seats.
With over 2,300 club seating options located at the court level, Golden 1 Center offers four private and exclusive club lounges all located on the event level. The Lexus Courtside Club is adjacent to the path the players take to and from their locker room. The club opens to the corridor, allowing courtside fans direct contact with the players. Spacious with seats for 278 patrons, it is designed to be the perfect place to escape and enjoy an ice-cold local microbrew or a hand-crafted cocktail.
Freestanding islands and specialty bars are placed within the circulation space, creating a street fair or a farmer’s market experience.
The centerpiece of the club is the freestanding central bar with its ceiling mounted crystal and glass chandelier light feature. The bar gives fans a place to catch up with friends and colleagues while still watching the game. With warm, natural, and contemporary finishes, the Lexus Courtside Club is complete with plush lounge seating and tables, banquette seating, and four-star cuisine served at freestanding carving and buffet stations.
The Rush and Assembly Clubs, which each seat just over 400 fans, are conveniently located to allow fans direct access to and from their seats. The main lounge spaces feature two freestanding fire pits, numerous freestanding seating options, high-top tables, and bar stools. The lounges also feature four-star farm-to-fork cuisine.
The focal point of the lounges is their central bars, which are finished in glass mosaic tiles and full-height, backlit wine racks. The bars feature large TV screens and theatrical accent lighting. Unique to the sideline clubs is the private dining room, with its freestanding glass wine rack and display. This private space allows club fans their own exclusive and custom party area.
The Boardroom, which seats 82 club ticket holders, is adjacent to the Kings home locker room and allows casual interactions with players. The space features a faceted architectural wood feature wall that houses a working fireplace and large-screen TV. The club has multiple seating options: three recessed private banquette seating lounges, casual lounge seating, and freestanding, high-top table seating.
With all of this specialization of the interiors of the arena, one aspect cannot be overlooked: Golden 1 Center is surrounded by the natural beauty of California, and inspired by the magnificent landscape of the Sierra Mountains, the River Delta, and Sacramento’s reputation as “The City of a Million Trees”.
The Kings’ mission is clear: create a destination experience and venue that is uniquely Sacramento, but having both a local and a global reach, that is economically and environmentally sustainable, and that enriches and promotes the community, the team, and the fans for generations to come.