Sacramento Kings Awarded 2020 NBA Inclusion Innovation and Team Innovation Awards
-- Team Recognized for Opening the World’s First In-Arena Checkout-Free Convenience Store --
Today, the Sacramento Kings issued the following statement after the NBA honored the team with both the 2020 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award and NBA Team Innovation Award. The Kings are the only NBA team to earn the league’s Inclusion Innovation Award for two years in a row. The award recognizes a specific innovative program across the league that advances inclusive practices. This year, the league recognized the Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks for the Team Up For Change initiative. The team also earned the Team Innovation Award in honor of opening the world’s first in-arena checkout-free convenience store in partnership with Zippin.
“Our team, in collaboration with our incredible partners, works hard every day to improve the fan experience and identify opportunities to use our sports platform for positive change. It is an honor to have this hard work recognized by the NBA,” said Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Owner Vivek Ranadivé. “We are proud to share an award with the Bucks who, like the Kings, believe teams have a responsibility to use our platforms to positively impact the lives of those we touch and make the world a better place. In addition, we are thrilled to have our continued commitment to leveraging technology to deliver cutting-edge, innovative solutions to our guests acknowledged with this prestigious distinction.”
NBA Inclusion Innovation Award
In March 2018, the city of Sacramento was rocked by the tragic death of Stephon Clark. When protests closed Golden 1 Center, Kings Chairman, CEO and Owner Vivek Ranadivé took center court to publicly commit to work alongside the community to prevent future tragedies. In acting on this commitment, the Kings immediately partnered with the Build.Black. Coalition, a group of community leaders organized to support transformational change for local black communities. Last year, the league honored the team with the first-ever 2019 NBA Inclusion Innovation Award for this groundbreaking multi-year partnership.
In May 2018, the Milwaukee Bucks expressed support for guard Sterling Brown, who was tased and arrested in relation to a parking violation. The franchise committed to work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better the community.
Led by the Kings, both teams came together to host Team Up for Change in February at Golden 1 Center. This first-of-its-kind, daylong summit was designed to unite, inspire and activate community leaders, law enforcement and youth advocates from Sacramento and Milwaukee by highlighting local and national perspectives from innovators and trusted experts who are advocates for social justice and equality. The result was a powerful and productive conversation around issues at the intersection of sports, race and the pursuit of more equitable communities. At the event, the Kings announced $50,000 in scholarship funds for youth in Sacramento to pursue advanced education opportunities.
Team Up for Change seeks to serve as a model for how sports teams can address issues of injustice in their respective cities. Milwaukee will host the second annual Team Up for Change summit on February 10, when the Bucks take on the Kings at home.
NBA Team Innovation Award
The NBA also recognized the Kings for their efforts to use technology to enhance the fan experience. Working with technology company Zippin, the Kings opened the world’s first in-arena checkout-free convenience store in October 2019. Zippin uses cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to identify which items customers purchase as they walk around the store, allowing guests and fans to walk in, grab items and walk out in under 30 seconds. This innovative technology offers numerous benefits, including quicker checkout, increased traffic and profits, and a reduction in theft by fraud.
Zippin is just one of the ways that the Kings are transforming the fan experience. Golden 1 Center is recognized as the world’s most technologically advanced and sustainable arena and received Sports Business Journal’s “Facility of the Year” within less than a year of opening. The Kings have also been named the "Most Innovative Company In Sports" by Fast Company and the “Most Tech-Savvy Team” by SportTechie.