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Sacramento Kings hire AECOM to design downtown arena

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Will the new Kings arena be the toughest place to play?(USATSI)
Will the new Sacramento Kings arena be the toughest place to play? (USATSI)

After a long battle with the Maloofs, the city of Anaheim, and the city of Seattle, the Sacramento Kings are finally under new ownership and looking to move into a new downtown arena to cement their residency in the city of Sacramento. Under new owners led by Vivek Ranadive, the Kings have committed to the city of Sacramento and are trying to build a brand new, state of the art arena to call home for a very long time.

The Sacramento Kings announced on Sunday that they have hired international sports architecture giant AECOM to lead the design efforts of their new downtown arena that is expected to revitalize downtown Sacramento and bring one of the top sports arenas in the country to a city that successfully fought to keep its only professional sports franchise. From the Kings' press release:

After a highly competitive process involving some of the top architectural firms in the world, the Sacramento Kings today announced AECOM has been selected as the lead architect for the downtown entertainment and sports complex.

AECOM is renowned for designing some of the most state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venues in the world. AECOM is responsible for the acclaimed London 2012 Olympic Park and is also designing the Rio 2016 Olympic Park. AECOM has served as lead architect of 11 NBA arenas, including the Barclays Center – home of the Brooklyn Nets and the 2012 Sports Business Journal Facility of the Year. Locally, AECOM designed Aggies Stadium at the University of California, Davis.

"We have assembled the best artists in the world to design and build the new arena," said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. "From the Bird's Nest in Beijing to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, AECOM has the resume to design and create the most technologically advanced and fan-centric arena in the world."

The Kings also selected ICON Venue Group as the project manager and Turner as the lead builder.

AECOM's most recent NBA accomplishment on the arena front is the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York where the Brooklyn Nets now call home. Barclays is one of the top sports arenas around and something similar could be a huge boost to the downtown portion of Sacramento. You expect it to be technologically advanced as the report above says the plan is, but the noise expectations are really where the Kings will try to make their mark.

Back in the heyday of the Sacramento Kings' franchise, Arco Arena wasn't the prettiest or most up to date arena in the NBA, but it was probably the loudest. With seats virtually on top of the court, fans could turn any Kings' run into a deathblow because the noise was so overwhelming. It also helped having Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, and Peja Stojakovic leading the offensive scoring charge. There were even shots of cowbells being rung so loudly behind the opposing bench that Phil Jackson had to put in earplugs in order to counteract the noise.

The Kings not only want a great home they can be proud of calling their own, but they want an arena that will boost the nightlife around downtown Sacramento and turn any Kings contest into a deafening experience for the opposing team.

Construction for the Kings' new arena is expected to begin sometime in late summer, early fall of 2014.

 
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