Sacramento River Cats

After 20 years as Raley Field, the River Cats’ ballpark is getting a new name

The River Cats’ Raley Field will be known as Sutter Health Park next season, the team announced Friday.
The River Cats’ Raley Field will be known as Sutter Health Park next season, the team announced Friday. Brian Baer/Special to The Bee

The Sacramento River Cats’ stadium will be known as Sutter Health Park starting next season, dropping the Raley Field title that’s been associated with the ballpark since it opened in 2000.

Sutter Health Park will be the name of the stadium for the next 15 years, said team president Jeff Savage. The change was announced at a news conference featuring Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon on Friday night.

Sutter Health has long sponsored several River Cats activities, including Saturday night fireworks, a bike valet and the monthly Diaper Derby race. The medical group also organizes summer caravans to bring players to nearby hospitals to visit patients.

“They really check a lot of the boxes,” Savage said. “They’re a local company, they’ve been existing partner of ours for many years, they are like-minded in that community initiatives are important for them, so it seemed like a good marriage.”

Financial terms of the deal are not being made publicly available, but Raley’s paid $15 million – nearly a third of the ballpark’s total construction cost – for a 20-year naming rights deal before the inaugural 2000 season. It remains the third-largest known annual payout for minor league stadium naming rights.

Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino paid $16 million for a 15-year contract with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2006, while the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority signed a controversial $80 million, 20-year deal with usage perks in 2017.

Raley’s made it clear relatively early on they weren’t interested in re-upping a naming rights deal, Savage said, and Sutter emerged as the frontrunner early in the 2019 season. The ballpark remains across the Tower Bridge from Raley’s corporate headquarters, and Savage said he thought Raley’s would continue to be involved with the team in some capacity.

Sutter’s sponsorship means the River Cats will host more cause-related nights, health screenings and even flu immunization clinics at the stadium, Sutter Health Chief Operating Officer James Conforti said. The River Cats and Sutter also plan to pay for the renovation or building of one Sacramento-area baseball or softball diamond per year, Savage said.

“This is going to be a fun partnership,” Savage said. “It’s not just baseball games. It’s the whole region that we want to impact.”

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.