Sports enthusiasts will not be disappointed during a visit to California’s capital. This year kept Sacramento busy with events such as the Amgen Tour of California cycling race, the USA Track & Field Championships and a USA Rugby match. Not to be overshadowed are Sacramento’s own professional and semipro teams, which consistently draw large crowds throughout the year. Kings fans are actually considered to be among the most devoted in the NBA. Those looking to complement their visit to Sacramento with some of America’s favorite pastimes should check out the list below.
TEAM: Sacramento Kings (NBA)
SEASON: October – mid April
VENUE: The Kings currently play at Sleep Train Arena, which is located about 10 minutes away from Downtown Sacramento. However, come fall 2016, their new home will be the Entertainment & Sports Center. This $477 million multi-use facility will accommodate sporting and top entertainment events such as professional and collegiate sports, concerts, ice shows, indoor rodeo and trade shows.
GROUP-FRIENDLY: The ESC will be located Downtown among a plethora of restaurants, bars, shops and attractions. Your group can easily walk from a number of hotels to the venue, or can head over after enjoying dinner or happy hour at a nearby establishment.
TEAM: Sacramento Republic FC (USL-PRO)
SEASON: End of March – mid September
VENUE: Bonney Field opened in June 2014 and seats 8,000 fans. The field is located adjacent to Cal Expo (the city’s fairgrounds and host of the California State Fair) and is close to one of Sacramento’s largest shopping malls. Several hotels are also located within a five-mile radius.
GROUP-FRIENDLY: Do as the locals do… for a mere $15, you can become a member of the Tower Bridge Battalion. Meet up with everyone at Hussong’s Cantina (the on-site pub at Cal Expo), enjoy a few pregame beers and then march together to the game where you will sit in your members-only section. A scarf is even included with your membership fee.
TEAM: Sacramento River Cats (MiLB)
SEASON: April - September
VENUE: Located just over the iconic Tower Bridge, Raley Field boasts lovely views of the Sacramento skyline. Themed promotional evenings such as Thirsty Thursday and Star Wars Night draw large crowds and provide for a fun atmosphere.
GROUP-FRIENDLY: Groups of 20 or more can receive seating together (subject to availability), a special welcome message on one of the field boards, and a group poster to promote the event. Picnic options are also available.
TEAM: San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
SEASON: September – end of December
VENUE: Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara opened its doors in August 2014 and is easily accessible from Sacramento via a short journey on Amtrak; the train disembarks about a block from the stadium. This $1.2 billion venue will also host Super Bowl 50 in February 2016. Avoid the chaos, congestion, and cost of the Bay Area by overnighting in Sacramento.
GROUP-FRIENDLY: Make a day of it by riding the train to Santa Clara in the morning and taking a private group tour of the stadium before the game. These tours include highlights such as a visit to the solar terrace, photo ops in front of the playing field, and a stop by the locker rooms.
Be sure to check out the Sacramento Sports Commission website for further details regarding special events that the city hosts each year. The SCVB Tourism Department is happy to help planners schedule unique experiences for their groups of 20 or more. If you’d like further information, please contact the department.