Last May marked a pivotal moment in the history of the Sacramento Kings. After years of uncertainty, the franchise finally reached some degree of long-term stability when the Maloof family agreed to sell the franchise to a local ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive. The team would not be moving to Virginia Beach, or Seattle, or some other as-yet-undetermined market. It was cause for great celebration in California's capital, the conclusion of a long period of hard work focused on keeping the team in town.
The Kings and their broadcast partner News10 (the local ABC affiliate) evidently see reason to reward fans with a special treat for the home opener against Denver Nuggets on October 30. As announced on Sunday, they will broadcast the game commercial-free. From the press release on Kings.com:
Returning for a third time after partnering with the Kings in 2006-07 and 2012-13, News10 will begin coverage this season with a commercially uninterrupted broadcast of the “Long Live the Kings” Home Opener on Oct. 30 versus the Denver Nuggets.
“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."
"News10 has been a loyal and valuable partner for us, and we look forward to working with them again this year," said Sacramento Kings President Chris Granger. "We are excited to offer the home opener commercial-free, and give our wonderful fans a peek into the arena experience on what is certain to be a special night."
Based on the comments from Barrs and Granger, it appears as though the breaks in game action will feature various peeks into the live game experience. That suggests that the point of this broadcast is to get fans interested in attending games at Sleep Train Arena (and perhaps ramping up interested in the Kings' next home, as well). Fans watching at home won't have to suffer through several dozen ads for light beer, but they will field an argument for viewing the Kings in person.
Of course, that will probably be a welcome part of the broadcast on a night as celebratory as this opener. It figures to be a game typified by excitement over the return (or continual presence) of the Kings, and there's no problem with responding to the fans' passion by showing them a potential outlet for it.
My only worry, really, is that the Kings and News10 won't find a way to incorporate point guard Isaiah Thomas's epic ad for Pizza Guys into the broadcast. That's one commercial we all want to see.