On Oct. 30 when you tune in — or at least the people in Sacramento tune in — to watch the Kings season opener as they host the Denver Nuggets, there will be no commercials during the broadcast.
You read that right, no commercials. Zero. The time that would normally be filled with a Blake Griffin Subway ad (or a Blake Griffin Kia ad or a Blake Griffin Nike ad) will be filled with shots of people enjoying the Kings still being in Sacramento.
The team announced this as a celebration of the Kings staying in Sacramento, calling it the “Long Live the Kings” game. At the same time they announced the team had partnered with local ABC affiliate News 10 to broadcast this opener and 11 other games (those will have commercials, we still live in a capitalistic society).
“No one was more excited than we were about the decision to keep the Kings in Sacramento,” News10 General Manager Maria Barrs said. “This is a pivotal year, and a commercial-free opening game is a great chance for fans to tune-in and rediscover why Kings basketball is so exciting and so important to this community.”
The other 72 Kings games will be broadcast on longtime partner Comcast Sportsnet California.
The Kings were pretty close to leaving Sacramento — the Maloof family spurned local offers to try and sell the team to Chris Hansen and his Seattle group. However, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson went to David Stern and basically said “what do we have to do to keep the team?” He was give an ambitious roadmap — find an owner willing to buy the team at the going rate and keep it in Sacramento, plus make big strides toward a new arena for the team.
Johnson found Vivek Ranadive and a group of partners to buy the team, then that group and the city met the benchmarks for getting an arena built. The league essentially told the Mallofs what sale they would approve, and the deal was set.
The Kings have a lot of work to do on the court, too, if they want to get back to their glory days. They have a potential franchise cornerstone piece in DeMarcus Cousins, if his head is on right, and there are guys who could play roles in the turn around such as Ben McLemore, Carl Landry, Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas and even Ray McCallum. Still, new GM Pete D’Alessandro and a new coach Michael Malone have a lot of work ahead of them.
Selling that hope is nice, but right now the fact the Kings are staying put is reason to celebrate — with a commercial free game.