SBJ/Sept. 2-8, 2013/Franchises

Kings add staff, upgrade arena

The makeover of the Sacramento Kings has accelerated in the past month under new team president Chris Granger, with the hiring of five front-office executives and plans to refresh the team’s Sleep Train Arena.

Granger
The Kings have made the executive hires since

Aug. 1, when Granger took over as president. The individuals (see box) were brought on board to help lead in the areas of sponsorship sales, premium sales, marketing, public relations and arena development.

The executive additions are part of a group of more than 70 new employees the Kings have added over the past few months. Those hires include 40 new ticket sellers and three additional sponsorship sellers, all coming after Vivek Ranadivé was approved as the Kings’ new owner this spring.

Ranadivé’s ownership group paid $347 million for a controlling, 65 percent stake in the franchise and committed $191 million in funding for a projected $449 million new arena for the team — for a total of about $538 million to buy into the NBA.

Prior to the purchase, the Kings had seen their staff numbers shrink over the past year as the team cut back on staff and saw other individuals depart on their own because of the franchise’s uncertain status in Sacramento.

Granger said more senior executive hires are planned, though he did not say how many additional new employees the team might bring on board.

“We are not done yet,” he said. “We have been light for some time, so there is a rebuilding of the sales infrastructure.”

Changes to Sleep Train Arena are also afoot while work continues on getting the team’s new arena in place. That new venue would not open until 2016.

By the time the coming NBA season opens, the Kings will have built a new courtside club and a new VIP club at Sleep Train Arena, along with a second row of courtside seating. Together, the areas will give the Kings $2 million in new courtside inventory.

“We are also adding digital basket stanchions, and it is the first year the Kings have done that,” said Jeff David, the team’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “There is a lot of demand, and we are looking to find inventory.”

The Kings are adding a new Wi-Fi system, a new media lounge and a new visitors locker room to the arena, as well.
Granger did not disclose the cost of the changes at the 25-year-old arena.

“We are making a lot of changes,” he said. “We are actively involved in refreshing the building and enhancing the fan experience.”



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