SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The goal is to get you off your feet and coming back for more. But it’s not the Sacramento Kings players on the court we’re talking about. Selling the game is a team effort — one that takes careful planning and perfect execution.
CBS13 got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring in king-sized entertainment.
It’s game time at Sleep Train Arena with a sold out crowd. The Nov. 15 match up against the Detroit Pistons was the Kings’ only nationally televised game of the year.
The Kings’ in-house production crew was working full speed, but their job started long before the game began.
Six and a half hours earlier, 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Tom Vannucci — the Kings’ Creative Director for Entertainment — met with his TED team, which stands for The Entertainment Department.
They hold hour-long production meetings before every game and will produce all of the entertainment in the arena on this night — outside of basketball.
Although the pregame meeting only contained about a dozen team members, Vannucci says it takes much more help.
“On a game day, I have 35 people who I’m responsible for to pull it all off,” he said.
Dan Spackman, the audio engineer, controls everything from microphones to music.
” ‘Thunderstruck’ is such a given, everybody immediately gets up for ‘Thunderstruck.’ Songs like ‘Right Here, Right Now,’ you get the emotion like ‘oh my God, here we go, we need this basket,’ ” he said.
Slamson, the crowd favorite, every move he makes is choreographed. It’s all planned; all designed.
“Rollerblades, used every game, usually in the fourth quarter with the flag,” he said.
Every minute of every game is accounted for in a tightly formatted rundown.
Shortly after 4 p.m., Nov. 15, tipoff is three and half hours away. They rehearse the entire show.
They check videos and graphics that fans will see on the scoreboard.
Although Vannucci could not say how much the entire production costs, he did confirm it’s in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On this night, they would fill all the seats, with the hope that Kings fans would break the world record for the loudest crowd in an indoor stadium.
As the doors to the arena were about to open to the public, Kings President Chris Granger was clearly nervous about breaking the noise record, and the national television appearance on ESPN.
“If we don’t do it then in the first quarter, they won’t take it at SportsCenter; and, obviously, we want to be on SportsCenter,” said Granger.
Granger and Vanucci know a thing or two about producing a big show. Before working for the Kings, both men worked for Disney.
The plan on this night called for one more big moment — a U.S. airman serving in Afghanistan surprised his four kids at center court during a timeout.
The time arrived — show time. Now wearing a suit and tie, Brazelton, seated at the scorer’s table, led his crew through his headset, just as it was designed.
T-shirts sailed into the crowd, a daredevil on a bike performs high flying stunts, and music blared just as it always does. But this night was different. It was bigger; it was louder.
Out of sight from the crowd, under the stands, they were ready.
It worked. Kings fans set the noise record. It was loud and boisterous, just like the good old days when the Kings were great, and completely different from the moment when Master Sergeant Brian Mccollum surprised his kids during a time out later in the game.
And in a flash, after weeks of planning and hours of rehearsing, the show within the show was over.