The Sacramento Kings may not be winning on the court right now, but the team — and its new arena — keeps on winning off the court. Last week the Golden 1 Center was awarded Best Elite Sports Facility or Venue Award at the Sports Technology Awards ceremony in London. This week the team was awarded an Appy for its dual team and venue smartphone application. The Kings are giving future venues a blueprint for how to use technology to further engage with fans.
That’s good news for newer venues that will open up in the near future. The Milwaukee Bucks can use information from the Kings to make their venue as engaging as possible. NFL teams — the Raiders, Rams and Chargers — building stadiums can look at where the Kings found success, and try and project the new types of technology they will need when their stadiums open up.
It also helps the sponsor — Golden 1 — that this new arena is getting a ton of recognition. Every time someone mentions the Kings experience, they have to mention Golden 1. This shows teams that capital investments can be used in the sale of naming rights and category sponsorships. Investing in technology doesn’t only help teams connect with fans. It also helps sales teams bring intriguing options and narratives to the table when they are trying to land partnerships.
Of course it’s not that simple. Many stadiums and arenas can’t be simply retrofitted for new technology. It’s just too expensive. The Kings were able to build a technologically advanced arena that connects with attendees because of timing. That doesn’t mean the Kings arena will fall by the wayside as new stadiums open. Teams and venue operators now understand they need to look to the future. Innovation comes fast, and the ability to add new technology is imperative.
For now, the Kings will bask in the glow of their arena and app awards. They should. Golden 1 has been a success since it opened its doors. Now the team can focus on building an engaging product on the court. The bells and whistles new technology provides drive fans to stadiums for the first few years, but it’s the on-court product that keeps fans coming back.