NORTH NATOMAS (CBS13) – Although the Sacramento Kings left the Sleep Train Arena in 2016, the venue is still proving to be a big draw for major events, which in turn boosts the local economy.
Over the past 14 weekends, the regional convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been calling Sleep Train home. The convention hosts nearly five thousand visitors daily.
Adrian Barnes, a spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witness, says it’s perfect for hosting his group.
“We love Sacramento,” said Barnes. “And we’re actually very grateful that Sacramento allowed us to be here.”
Visitors attending the “The Love Never Fails” convention have traveled far and wide to get to Sacramento, and it means money for the local economy.
“Just this year alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses, when it comes to the local restaurants, hotels, were going to spend upwards of over $16 million just in that alone,” said Barnes.
The arena, which looks like a relic from the past with weeds overgrown in the parking lot, last hosted a Kings game in 2016.
Inside the building, the scoreboard still hangs over center-court, and the large Kings logo remains by the locker rooms.
The only sign of years past is the seating in the upper deck, which was removed and offered to season ticket holders as keepsakes. But conventions like this speak to potential.
Nerjinder Shergill, a convention visitor from the Bay Area, says he’s been impressed.
“We’re looking at extending our trip a little longer than the convention, maybe taking some sightseeing,” said Shergill with his family of three.
The Kings also see the potential and are looking for maximum flexibility in redeveloping the site.
A statement from the Kings to CBS13 said, “We continue to work with the city to make progress towards a flexible master entitlement plan that is capable of adapting to a wide range of opportunities to benefit the Natomas community and the region as a whole.”
The leaders submitted a plan to the city in November and say it doesn’t have to be entertainment. The venue could be anything from residential to commercial, or both.
For the Shergill family, they have a reason to keep coming back.
“It’s a great venue that provides comfortable and adequate seating for all of us so that’s great,” said Shergill.
The Kings say there is still plenty of work to be done, but any plan will benefit the residents of Sacramento and North Natomas.