In an effort to create an inclusive and welcoming experience at Golden 1 Center, the Sacramento Kings have partnered with nationally recognized non-profit KultureCity to ensure an accommodating and positive experience for guests who may have a sensory issue.
Today, the team will open a dedicated sensory room at Golden 1 Center, begin offering kits to provide a more comfortable experience for guests who have challenges with sensory regulation and support the work of local non-profits during the Kings annual autism awareness game.
“Basketball is for everyone, and we want to ensure that every guest has an enjoyable experience at Golden 1 Center,” said Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. “With the help of KultureCity, we’re proud to say that our staff is trained and prepared to support the needs of guests who may have sensory sensitivities during a Kings game or concert.”
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to overstimulation and noise.
Located on the Event Level of Golden 1 Center, California’s first sensory room in a sports venue – designed by medical professionals and the team at KultureCity – features calming bubble and texturized walls, specialized furniture, and soothing sounds for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment.
The arena is also now equipped with special sensory kits – including noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads – for guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. The kits are available to check out at the Guest Services Station at sections 109 and 207 to allow those with sensory sensitivities to regulate at their seats and still participate in the action. Guests who wish to access the sensory rooms can ask any ambassador for assistance or proceed to the nearest Guest Service Station located at sections 109 and 207.
Additionally, nearly 400 Golden 1 Center and Kings staff members have been trained by medical professionals on how to assist guests who may have sensory needs or handle a sensory overload situation.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a basketball game, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” said, KultureCity Co-Founder Dr. Julian Maha, M.D. “Our communities are what shape our lives and to know that Golden 1 Center is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
Today, when the Kings host the Boston Celtics, the Sacramento Kings Foundation will help create awareness for children in the Sacramento region with autism. A teen from Epic Revolution, a social club that offers neurodiverse teens and young adults opportunities to connect with their peers, will serve as the team’s honorary “Ball Kid.” Sacramento Autistic Spectrum and Special Needs Alliance will stand with the Sacramento Kings players for the singing of the national anthem. Odyssey Learning Center, a non-profit organization that specializes in teaching children with autism, will benefit from the in-arena 50/50 raffle.
The Sacramento Kings and the Kings Foundation are dedicated to supporting events that promote the inclusion of all. Earlier this month, the team hosted a Movement Clinic, a combo dance class led by Capital Dance Project and the Sacramento Kings Dancers, yoga tutorial run by the Yoga Seed Collective and Junior Kings basketball clinic for children with autism.
This past August, the Sacramento Kings Foundation supported Capital Dance Project’s Sensory-Friendly Dance Performance with reduced loud or shocking sounds and flashing lights that tend to overstimulate sensory sensitive people.