Sacramento Kings, Build. Black. Coalition Highlight High-Tech Careers for Local STEM Students

During Xfinity Drone Speed Challenge Special Preview, Youth from Underserved Sacramento Neighborhoods to Learn About Careers in Drone Racing and Professional Gaming from Industry Leaders – Students to Fly Drones at Golden 1 Center.

On Wednesday, July 18, fifteen kids from the Roberts Family Development Center and Simmons Center – through the Sacramento Kings multi-year partnership with the Build. Black Coalition and its affiliates – will have the opportunity to learn about technology careers firsthand from industry professionals. The Kings and Build.Black., as part of the Xfinity Drone Speed Challenge – the biggest drone race and esports crossover event in California history – taking place at Golden 1 Center on Thursday, will host a special preview where students will learn to fly drones with some of the world’s most elite drone pilots from the Aerial Sports League (ASL) and tour the NBA’s first esports training facility with the Kings Guard Gaming NBA 2K League team.

“Once unimaginable technologies like flying package delivery and professional video gaming are thriving industries, and we want our local students to have a leg up,” said Ryan Montoya, Chief Technology Officer for the Sacramento Kings. “Technology careers can be fun, and by connecting engaged STEM students with drone and esports experts, we hope these students continue excelling in the math and science classes they need to imagine the technology of tomorrow.”

Players from Kings Guard Gaming, the Kings first esports franchise, will speak to the students about their careers as professional esports athletes and their personal journeys into the league.  On a tour of the state-of-the-art facility at Golden 1 Center, they’ll showcase the technology that goes into creating an esports team and competitions. ASL pilots from around the globe will join the group for a showcase of emerging technology jobs and give the kids an opportunity to demo and fly the drones that will be used in competition the following day. 

“As esports audiences grow exponentially around the world, more opportunities to embrace technology and gaming as a profession have become a reality,” said Trent ‘timelycook’ Donald, guard for Kings Guard Gaming. “As one of the kids who always dreamed about becoming a pro athlete, I hope that my story will inspire the next-generation of esports athletes from every background that will explore emerging technologies.”

The Xfinity Drone Speed Challenge is a unique crossover competition that combines first-person view drone racing and the online drone racing simulator game – Velocidrone, that will show students the cutting edge hardware of drones coming together with online and digital technology. A series of online esports competitions in the Velocidrone simulator concluded in June, and the eight top-ranked drone teams from across the US and Canada, and as far away as Sweden and Norway, will come to Sacramento to race actual drones head-to-head throughout the iconic Golden 1 Center. Comcast and ASL are offering a record breaking $25,000 prize purse and will donate an additional $25,000 to a local Sacramento non-profit organization in the name of the winning team.

“Golden 1 Center is home to thrilling live events, community events and exciting Sacramento Kings games, that are supported by the fastest internet connection in sports,” said Elaine Barden, Vice President, Residential Sales and Marketing for Comcast in California. “By partnering with the Kings, Golden 1 Center and ASL, not only are we bringing a spectacular event to Sacramento, we can use this high-tech opportunity to teach kids about how tech can be both fun and  a future career.”

“I’m excited to work with the Sacramento Kings and Comcast, not only to create a spectacular event, but create an opportunity to shape young minds about a potential career,” said Marque Cornblatt, CEO of Aerial Sports League. “Our drone pilots started off as dreamers just like many of the kids who will join our special preview, and we’re thrilled to share our knowledge and insight.”

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