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Record Crowds Have Sacramento Republic Rethinking Bonney Field Capacity

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Another record crowd for the Sacramento Republic FC has the team wondering if it's time to talk expansion.

Despite a weekend packed with plenty of sports options, more than 17,000 fans packed Hughes Stadium on Saturday.

The Sacramento Republic's inaugural season is barely a month old, but its first two home games have drawn more than some teams draw all year.

Those games have happened at the team's temporary home at Hughes Field, which boasts more than twice the capacity than the planned 8,000-seat stadium the team will move into next month.

With the team planning to play its first game in its official home on June 7 against Arizona United SC, the team is wondering if the capacity is large enough after drawing nearly 40,000 fans in its first two home matches.

"It shows you how strong our market is," said team CEO Warren Smith.

So what options does the team have for its new field? Cal Expo CEO Rick Pickering says it's not as simple as adding bleachers.

"I think we would have to rely on the engineers and fire marshal because it's not just building something," he said. "It's how to get people in and out. so there is a lot of input that goes into taking something and making it bigger."

The team would need to sell out the rest of its matches this season before looking at adding thousands of seats next year, something Smith says the team is already considering.

While the team may be second guessing a stadium of 8,000 seats, Smith can only offer some friendly advice if you hope to catch a game.

"Get your tickets while you can," he said.

While the team is expected to play its first game at Cal Expo on June 7, the field may not be ready until later in the month. That means not only the Arizona United SC game could be at the larger Hughes Stadium, but the June 20 match against the Colorado Rapids Reserves and a June 26 rematch against Arizona United SC as well.

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