The night’s festivities included the Sacramento Kings Dancers (SKD) performing a Latin-inspired routine to a “Let’s Get Loud” remix and following their performance, participated in an arena-wide “Salsa Cam” that encouraged fans to get up out of their seats to shimmy with the SKD on the Jumbotron. Los Altenos, a well-known, traditional and award-winning ballet folklorico company from Stockton showcased a stunningly colorful cultural dance performance to Mariachi America de Sacramento’s traditional Mexican music.
To further connect with its Latino fan base, the Kings featured guest host Iliana Jimenez of Mexico City, a host and NBA personality since 2013. She also guest-hosted the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves’ Noches Ene-Be-A themed nights.
“To finally get a chance to be in California, in Sacramento, with the Kings, it’s an awesome experience,” Jimenez said. “Being in the arena tonight, I’m feeling a lot of love from the fans, it’s like they’re family.”
The Sacramento Kings Entertainment Department or TED, coordinates booking local entertainers for all of the team’s themed nights. Scott Freshour, game night host and booking manager said the Kings work to bring in the area’s top performers.
“The Sacramento Kings have connections with Latino community leaders who recommend the best of the best in Hispanic entertainment from around the region,” said Freshour. “It’s important for us to highlight the rich culture of the local community in Sacramento.”
In addition, Cathy Rodriguez, President of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was also recognized. Many members of the Chamber were also present to represent local Hispanic small businesses and organizations.
Sacramento Kings’ Chief Marketing Officer, Ben Gumpert also shared his opinion regarding the significance of Noches Ene-Be-A. “This night is special. As part of the Noches Ene-Be-A program, we wanted to honor a significant segment of our fan base,” Gumpert said. “It’s about education, appreciation and inclusion, and really reaching out to every one of our fans.”
Chris Granger, President & Chief Operating Officer at Sacramento Kings said the organization will expand outreach efforts and continue strive to authentically connect with their Latino fan base in the coming seasons. He anticipates the Golden 1 Center will allow for continued momentum in diversifying the Kings' fan base.
“It’s great, along with our growth as an organization, we have a real focus on being part of global communities,” Granger said. “Whether it’s Bollywood Night, or celebrating the Lunar Year, or it's Noches Ene-Be-A. We have such a big Hispanic population here in Sacramento.”
Granger says he’s had a chance to work with owner Dorene Dominguez and mentioned her strengths as an owner and a Hispanic woman in business. “Dorene is a wonderful owner and role model,” Granger said. “My daughters had a chance to meet her and they were so impressed with Dorene and her business savvy, community spirit and generosity.”
The NBA’s Hispanic marketing campaign began in the 2006-07 season and was launched with uniforms featuring the names of the teams as the Latino community calls them, for example, “Los Kings”, “El Magic” and “Los Spurs”.
As of 2010, 15 percent of the NBA’s fan base is Hispanic and its teams have played over 30 games (preseason or regular) in Latin America. According to the Latin Post, the NBA was the first American professional sports league to sign a deal with a Spanish-language network, then Telemundo and soon after with ESPN Deportes. In 2008, the Hispanic outreach plan was revised to include Noches Ene-Be-A, a themed night set to celebrate Hispanic culture. Since then, it's grown to become a night to look forward to for the local Latino community.