‘Kings’ digital arena experience for fans


Sacramento Kings virtual arena Image: NBA

With people in the United States still going through harrowing times due to COVID-19, in-person attendance of sporting events has almost become a distant dream.

Keeping the above scenario in mind, the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball franchise has claimed a first for a professional sports team with the launch of a new Discord server that will create a virtual arena experience for fans who are missing out on the field action.

The Discord server will allow Kings’ supporters to gather online to interact and expand access to exclusive experiences that usually take place in-person at the team’s home arena – Golden 1 Center.

Discord is an instant messaging platform and focused on gaming when the same was launched in 2012. It has since grown to cover areas such as music and sports and currently boasts over 100 million active users.

The Sacramento Kings are an American professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California (US). The Kings compete in the National Basketball Association as a member of the Western Conference Pacific Division. The Kings are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento.

Through its partnership with Discord, the Kings will host a range of live Q&As directly with fans on the server, featuring access to Kings front office executives, players and broadcast personalities.

The server will also feature merchandise updates, real-time game and topic discussions and other initiatives. The server can be accessed on the Discord desktop or mobile app or via Discord.gg/sacramentokings.

Stated Kings Chairman and Owner Vivek Ranadive, “We are excited to launch this digital arena as an innovative solution to bring the best fans in the world closer to the team and connect virtually during these unprecedented times. At the Kings we are always working to take advantage of new ways to engage and interact with our fans and we are pleased to partner with Discord, the industry leader in blending offline and online worlds on a frictionless and cohesive platform.”

Discord Chief Marketing Officer Tesa Aragones added, “Everything we do at Discord is grounded in creating community, connection, and belonging. When it comes to those things, nothing levels the playing field like sport. We are excited to welcome the first official NBA team to Discord in the Sacramento Kings as they bring their passionate fans to a place to connect with the players – and one another – beyond the physical arena.”

The Kings have been at the vanguard of technological innovation in recent years. Last season, the team claimed another first for world sport through a partnership with Zippin that resulted in the opening of a checkout-free convenience store at their residence – Golden 1 Center.

Earlier this year, the Kings partnered with NINA to introduce an Internet of Things (IoT)-powered smart pouring solution at Golden 1 Center. NINA’s bottle-mounted device and app allows fans to skip lines at the arena and the initiative is designed to provide a more personalized experience for supporters.

Other initiatives launched by the Kings include a blockchain-powered reward program, and augmented reality (AR) experiences through collaboration with Imagination Park Technologies.

Imagination Park Technologies is an AR platform that enables businesses of any size to create and implement their own AR campaigns with no programing or technology.

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