By Carlos Correa


STOCKTON (CBS13) — Fine dining, theater and sports – lots and lots of sports — are helping change the Stockton landscape.

The Heat, the Ports, the Kings and now the Stockton Rush are helping bring excitement back to the downtown area. Leaders are saying that’s good for business.

Several banners have been placed in downtown Stockton to celebrate the teams and get people ready for all of the action.

Ever since the Stockton Kings moved to town, Ruben Elliott has been busy in the kitchen of Bella Vista restaurant in downtown Stockton.

“The food speaks for itself and what I do, I use my creativity to emphasize the flavors and modernize any classic Italian dish that we can,” he said.

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The Kings along with the Stockton Heat and the Ports have become a big part of the community. The teams have helped re-energize downtown and give area businesses a little financial boost.

“We are seeing what I call the north Stockton crowd coming down to downtown enjoying all the amenities that we have down here and part of that is because of the sports teams,” said Michael Huber, Downtown Alliance.

In 2019, the Stockton Arena will host 150 events including more than 30 hockey games and more than 20 basketball games.  It will also have six soccer games with the arrival of the Stockton Rush, the city’s new indoor soccer team.

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“I think we’re a sporting town. It’s in our DNA. There are some very prominent and famous athletes that have come out of Stockton and love to support our sporting teams,” said Kendra Clark, general manager, SMG Stockton.

During game nights and special events, businesses plan to stay open late and offer specials. Community leaders say the teams also help attract new visitors to downtown.

“Having new sports teams and the existing teams that we have downtown Stockton just elevates us as a sports destination which is easier for us to recruit other championships and tournaments to the city which is great for business,” said Robyn F. Cheshire with Visit Stockton.

The city is also gearing up for the 14th annual Amgen Tour of California, which arrives in downtown in May 2019.

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