SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings held media day Monday, marking the unofficial start of the NBA season.
Last offseason, there was some excitement ahead of the Kings 2022-23 season but nothing like what we ended up with in the spring of 2023. With so much expectation and anticipation downtown, business owners who bet on the team are now excited to see the rewards at the start of the year.
Tom Ryan couldn't have timed it any better.
"The research says Kings are king here in Sacramento," he said. "There is a draw here. It's kind of the spiritual sports energy of the whole city."
Ryan is the owner of Tom's Watch Bar. A new location cut its ribbons Monday across from the Golden 1 Center.
"We wanted to catch the season really badly so here we are, second of October, a couple weeks from the season, so we're going to be ready," Ryan said.
The restaurant hired 150 staffers for what they think will be a fast start to the year.
"We kind of thrive on density and urgency and those kind of team situations where there's not enough capacity to sell tickets or people can't afford them or get them," Ryan said. "We want to be an extension of the fanbase."
Sellouts in October mark a difference from last season. While the Kings sold out their home opener in 2022, attendance dipped as low as 13,000 in November before the win streak that spawned the Beam Team.
"With the hype of the Kings finishing off the way that they finished off, I think that starts our season different than it did last year," Kevin McBride said.
McBride is a Sacramentan who bet on the Kings' excitement, purchasing the old clubhouse space to launch a steakhouse called Butcher & Barrel.
"We're geared up and getting ready for the season to start," he said. "We're really excited about the Kings coming and opening up their doors. Had a lot of great concerts, so we definitely feel the vibe here."
McBride, too, anticipates a big crowd on gamedays and a more consistent seasonal crowd.
"We definitely feel the energy coming back," he said. "People coming out more, they're flooding the streets. Lunchtimes are getting busy again so it's nice."
This season brings an expectation and crowd that Sacramento hasn't known since the days of Arco Arena.
If you were wondering about tickets for the Kings' home opener, they're still semi-affordable. You can find plenty on resale sites, but there are only about 20 tickets officially unsold for the October 15 tip-off, which means big business for everyone down here.
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