Entertainment & Life

Sleep Train Amphitheatre changes name

A stagehand wanders across the stage of the Sleep Train Amphitheatre near Marysville on May 6, 2004. The 18,500-capacity venue is the largest concert facility in the Sacramento area, and will begin its summer concert season on May 23.
A stagehand wanders across the stage of the Sleep Train Amphitheatre near Marysville on May 6, 2004. The 18,500-capacity venue is the largest concert facility in the Sacramento area, and will begin its summer concert season on May 23. Sacramento Bee file

Sleep Train Amphitheatre near Wheatland has changed its name.

The outdoor concert venue 40 miles north of Sacramento became Toyota Amphitheatre under a new naming-rights contract announced Monday by the facility’s owner, nationwide concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment. The announcement ends a 12-year relationship with The Sleep Train Inc.

The change comes as Sleep Train transitions to new ownership. The Rocklin-based mattress retailer was sold to Mattress Firm Holding Corp., a Houston chain, in a $425 million deal that closed last October.

More recently, Sleep Train’s contract with Live Nation expired earlier this year and the mattress retailer was benefiting from its association with a higher-profile venue in the region, Sleep Train Arena in Natomas. The company believed “there was duplication in the market with the arena,” said Sleep Train spokeswoman Jennifer Ritchie.

Sleep Train has held the naming rights to the Sacramento Kings’ arena since 2012, and both sides said that relationship will continue. Sleep Train Arena is scheduled to close in the fall of 2016, when the team moves into its new building at Downtown Plaza. The Kings have yet to identify a naming-rights partner for the new arena.

Sleep Train has dropped its name from two other amphitheatres, however. It relinquished naming rights to the Concord amphitheatre, which is also run by Live Nation, a year ago. More recently it removed the name of its Sleep Country division from an amphitheatre in Ridgefield, Wash.

However, Sleep Train continues to hold the naming rights to an amphitheatre Live Nation operates in Chula Vista, near San Diego.

As for the 18,500-seat Wheatland facility, Live Nation said it signed a multiyear deal with the Northern California Toyota Dealers Advertising Association. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Chris Martinez, Live Nation’s regional marketing director, said the sponsorship agreement for the Wheatland amphitheatre ended with Sleep Train earlier this year. “We are grateful for their business and look forward to what lies ahead with our new partners at Toyota,” he said by email.

Known as the Sacramento Valley Amphitheatre when it opened in 2000, the Wheatland facility was briefly named for AutoWest until Sleep Train grabbed the naming rights in 2003.

Regardless of name, the venue has been a spotty performer for Live Nation. The number of concerts dwindled considerably after a strong start, and at one point, in 2007, the promoter put the venue up for sale. In 2010, there were only nine shows held at Sleep Train during the outdoor concert season.

However, the venue seems to have rebounded. Live Nation said it held 18 shows at the Wheatland site last year, drawing a total of 210,000 fans. Performers included Journey, Kings of Leon and Linkin Park.

Toyota officials said they were happy to put their company’s name on the facility.

“The prominence of the venue combined with the excitement it creates around the top tier talent helps our Toyota dealers bring that to life through this incredibly visible sponsorship,” said Briana Nelson, assistant general manager of Toyota’s regional office in San Francisco, in a statement released by Live Nation.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

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