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Forgotten Palace: Sleep Train Arena (Formerly Arco Arena)

Ever since the Sacramento Kings came to the capitol city from Kansas City, the team had a notoriously loyal and close knit fanbase. That fanbase came together for decades at “The Old Barn”, mostly known as Arco Arena, briefly known as Power Balance Pavilion, and most recently known as Sleep Train Arena.

The building itself was nothing to write home about. Dull, boxy, desaturated. It was the atmosphere inside that made this arena special.

The Kings, being managed by the infamous Maloofs, explored their options in the meantime. Other cities, other venues. The Maloofs relinquished control and the new ownership preferred keeping the team in the city it built a loyal fanbase in, and they were able to build a new downtown Sacramento arena, The Golden 1 Center, which opened in 2016.

Decades of roaring crowds in Sleep Train Arena had now moved on, whether they wanted to or not. The arena sat silent.

Last Days Outside SLEEP TRAIN ARENA aka Arco Arena [2/3]

That’s when the guys from the Somethin’ Or Other Tour walked in. The Somethin’ Or Other Tour (or SOOT.tv for short) hosted by Dylan Sesco is a Youtube web series that explores random places. The former Arco Arena was high on their list.

“We had to get in. I never got to see a game there, so I was determined.”

The silence in the arena was deafening. There were once rowdy crowds booing Kobe Bryant, or Lebron James (who made his debut in Arco Arena) and cheering on their own heroes such as Chris Webber, Mike Bibby or Peja Stojakovic.

They walked in those footsteps through the locker rooms, on the court, and through the offices.

“The most interesting thing we found were photo negatives for official team photos and scouting reports. It was amazing all this sports history was still hiding in there years later.”

Besides a few random events and a short term quarantine ward, the arena was rotting away quietly.

“It was a bucket list explore for us. This arena has so much history and so many great moments, we had to do our best to remember” says Dylan Sesco.

Many may be creeped out by a huge abandoned building, but Dylan Sesco, his brother Cole, and cousin Steve were more giddy than afraid.

“It was just so much fun. The only creepy part was the infamous Clown Cave,” remembered Dylan Sesco about an unfinished tunnel decorated with clowns from the traveling circuses that came to town. The tunnel was going to connect the arena to never-finished Arco Park, an adjoining baseball and football mixed use stadium the original ownership group attempted to build nextdoor.

Arco Arena was demolished in mid 2022, and all these legends and history are now forever gone, although they are documented forever by Dylan Sesco and The Somethin’ Or Other Tour.

You can watch The Somethin’ Or Other Tour Hosted by Dylan Sesco on Youtube or directly at http://soot.tv.