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Sacramento, Calif. – Marking the culmination of a decade-long effort to build a new arena in Sacramento, today the community officially celebrated the groundbreaking of the new downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).

Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivรฉ, Mayor Kevin Johnson and other local leaders and community members came together to mark the symbolic start of a new era in Sacramento. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, the upcoming ESC will showcase uniquely Sacramento qualities while setting a new standard in technological and environmental innovation.

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“Today is about more than just digging shovels into the ground – it’s about celebrating the start of a new era for this city, the Sacramento Kings and the entire region,” said Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivรฉ. “Much like the construction workers and engineers working around the clock to build the ESC, we are working tirelessly to bring the best technology, environmental practices, locally sourced food and beverages, and fan experience to serve as a centerpiece for civic engagement, community and the arts.”

“This is a historic day in the City of Sacramento,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson. “We’ve reached a great milestone in this incredible journey that has been nearly 10 years in the making. Today we are putting shovels in the ground which means we are putting people back to work. We’ve said from the beginning that this was bigger than basketball. This project is the catalyst in our years long effort to revitalize our downtown, creating 4,000 permanent jobs and over 11,000 construction jobs, while energizing our City and our region. I’ve never been prouder of my hometown and more hopeful for our future.”

“When I was eight years old, I danced in front of my first huge crowd during halftime of a Kings game,” said Tejah Teat. “That performance gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams and eventually win a national contemporary dance title. I want to thank the Kings for being such a special part of my family’s life. We have so many great memories at Sleep Train Arena, and we can’t wait to create even more in the new downtown arena.”

AECOM, who is renowned for designing some of the most state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venues in the world, is the ESC’s lead architect, while ICON Venue Group is serving as the project manager and Turner Construction is the lead builder. All architectural design work will occur in Sacramento to ensure ongoing local input in the design process.

Today’s groundbreaking of the new ESC also coincides with the Sacramento Kings regular season home opener, which will commemorate three decades of Kings basketball in Sacramento. The celebratory home opener will kick off with an immersive visual show that transforms the court into a 3D projection screen highlighting the team’s rich history. Original owners and former Kings players from the 1985 inaugural team will be on hand to commemorate the team’s storied past and celebrate its bright future.

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