Sacramento has come a long way since the historic vote to build Intel Arena in 2012. In just 10 short years, the Historic Railyards area is now a thriving epicenter of vibrance.
Intel Arena had a shaky start... Rookie mayor Kevin Johnson somehow made a miracle full-court shot to not only save the Kings from moving to Anaheim, but rallied an arena merley one year later. City Council amazingly voted 7-2 in favor of building the arena that was the catalyst to revitalizing downtown.
A lot has happened since then. Multiple hotels, trendy restaurants, and high-rises sprouted up quickly surrounding the railyards, as businesses tripped over themselves to locate in the undeveloped areas surrounding the arena. The Historic Railyards is now the place to be - Donte Green's Donte Club is a must-see nightclub on any night, Kings game or not.
Intel Arena is now one of the most highly-booked arenas on the west coast. In 2015, Mayor Johnson was able to persuade the American Hockey League to relocate a struggling team to Sacramento, now known as the Sacramento Locomotives. Seven years in, the Locos are still one of the highest-attended AHL teams in the country.
While The 2022 Olympics was awarded to Warsaw, it certainly was an honor to be in the hunt, as the California/Nevada bid for the Olympics would have seen ice hockey and figure skating played at Intel. San Francisco is rumored to include Sacramento in its bid for 2034, however.
The NCAA Men's Basketball tournaments have played several times at Intel Arena, as was the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The Sacramento Sports Commission was quick to book other first-class tournaments to Sactown for years to come.
It's hard to think of now, but there was a time when it was difficult to secure major acts to Sacramento. Power Balance Pavilion did not have the amenities needed to attract stars like the late Jimmy Buffett and U2 - now they come to Sacramento and Bay Area fans need to drive HERE to see the major acts.
Most importantly, the Kings stayed in town. History did not repeat itself as it did in Seattle, where the Thunder became a powerhouse in Oklahoma City, and Seattle was left to poach the now-defunct Timberwolves... remember when they tried to steal the Kings?
Let's not forget Natomas. Power Balance Pavilion was quickly leveled, with rubble used to help strengthen the levees to help make way for construction of Six Flags Sacramento.
The story continues. Veteran leader DeMarcus Cousins led the Sacramento Kings to their first-ever championship in 2020 - and we're hoping for many more.
It's no wonder Mayor Johnson's jersey hangs from the rafters.