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Besides the Kings, what would you most like to see in a new arena?

Leading Off: March Madness could return in new arena

Published: Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 - 10:34 am

The NCAA Tournament is in San Jose this weekend, with games Thursday and Saturday.

That used to be us. That used to happen at Arco Arena.

The building now known as Sleep Train Arena hosted NCAA early-round games in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2007, generating plenty of buzz and memories.

When Sacramento was denied a bid in 2009, the prevailing wisdom was that Arco Arena was no longer worthy of being an NCAA host.

Whether that was an impression created by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and other city officials or a reality doesn't much matter. Sleep Train is slowly eroding, beyond what is satisfactory by NBA standards. And last fall, after requesting bids from Sacramento for 2014 and 2015, the NCAA passed on us yet again.

If the city and the "whales" can save the Kings and finally get a new arena built, that would flip on the green light to host NCAA games again.

And the NBA has rewarded cities that build new arenas with an even bigger plum: All-Star Weekend. Imagine the economic boost that would bring to a city starving for a financial surge. Orlando, Fla., a smaller city and market than Sacramento, brought in an estimated $95 million in revenue (hotels, restaurants, tourism) for All-Star Weekend last year.

Bottom line: new buildings attract more and bigger events, and nothing draws these days quite like the NCAA Tournament.

What to watch

NCAA Tournament, Pacific vs. Miami, 11:10 a.m., TNT: Can the Big West's Tigers tame the ACC's Hurricanes?

Today's poll

Besides the Kings, what would you most like to see in a new arena?

• NBA All-Star Game

• NCAA Tournament

• Major concerts

• Political conventions

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; or, go to

Thursday's results

Do you prefer a printed or digital program?

• Printed: 71%

• Digital: 16%

• No preference: 13%

Total votes: 55

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