“We did it in Seattle! “
The sold-out crowd of 17,151 roared as Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke hosted the first full house for a hockey game on Saturday at Seattle’s new Climate Pledge Arena by marking the completion of the location building and team landing of the NHL.
Seattle definitely turned out to be a party.
– Taylor Soper (@Taylor_Soper) 24 October 2021
Dressed in Team Kraken jerseys, fans took to Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood and the site of the new billion dollar sports and entertainment venue. The roof might have looked like fans seeing the arena for the first time, but everything else has changed dramatically over the past three years.
Amazon – headquartered just down the street – bought the naming rights and put Climate Pledge on the building, and the tech giant’s touches are all over the inside, of its cashier-less technology. Just Walk Out ”in select Amazon Music supply stores sponsoring the game’s warm-up pre-tunes.
All over the arena, fans took photos and hung up merchandise. They tried new technologies and they tried to win the team. But the crowd had to leave their new home without a win as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Kraken 4-2.
Read on for a sample of what we saw and take a peek at our first look at the arena.
The main lines
The food and drink lines seemed to move around the arena relatively quickly, and we didn’t see any line exiting the washrooms. The biggest attraction was wherever Kraken merchandise was sold.
Fans lined up at booths throughout the arena to grab jerseys, hats, pucks and more. And at The Lair, Climate Pledge’s main equipment store, there was a long line to enter the lobby.
A shorter queue to gear up was reserved for fans who picked up merchandise they ordered through the Kraken app. The app provides the ability to purchase items from your seat and have them delivered to a nearby pickup point.
The Kraken broke jersey sales records last month, before the team even played a single game.
And there were no queues at four stores equipped with Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology. It’s the same experience that can be found in Amazon Go convenience stores and the company’s Fresh grocery stores.
We had the opportunity to test the experience, and it worked seamlessly. Other fans found it just as easy and convenient, although the $ 16 beer price wasn’t as exciting.
Using technology to speed up purchases and avoid long lines is a key part of the technology-enhanced experience that Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena representatives have been promising for years at the revamped KeyArena site. .
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, whose company led the arena redevelopment, told GeekWire that the Kraken franchise has a “fantastic partnership” with Amazon. The company’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services, also popped up, fueling the “Stat of the Game”.
The Kraken and Canucks took to the ice for a warm-up shot about 15 minutes before the start of the game. The music played during this period, to energize the players and the crowd, was “brought to you by Amazon Music”.
And after the end, the arena announcer told the crowd that if they liked what they heard, they could hear it again at home – if they have an Amazon smart speaker – saying, “Alexa, play some Kraken warm-up music.”
Speaking of Amazon, the tech giant’s new CEO Andy Jassy co-owns the Kraken and was in the game.
– Andy Jassy (@ajassy) 24 October 2021
The large living wall filled with ferns and other plants in Climate Pledge turned out to be a popular spot for fans taking photos. We saw many of them taking selfies with the greenery as a backdrop.
The wall was built with the help of Amazon, which has just such a feature in the spheres on its headquarters campus. The arena wall is interspersed with video screens promoting various sustainable technologies and more.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand on Saturday and we asked him the name of the arena.
.@LNH Commissioner Gary Bettman on Amazon Naming #SeaKraken arena @climatearena for @climatepledge: “At some point, every time someone enters this building, they will think about the environment. From an awareness point of view, it is spectacular. pic.twitter.com/jnnxRrzxjG
– GeekWire (@geekwire) 24 October 2021
Monorail in the mix
The Seattle Center Monorail was built in 1962 to showcase the future of transportation at the Century 21 World’s Fair. The elevated train travels 9 miles, but the Kraken hopes it will go all the way for fans looking for another way to avoid parking problems in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood.
The team’s ownership group pledged $ 7 million for monorail upgrades in February 2020 in the NHL and subsidizes all season tickets for home games and tickets to a game on public transport. , via ORCA.
The Westlake monorail platform was packed with people wearing Kraken gear 2.5 hours before Saturday’s game. Fans could access the Monorail for free with their game ticket on their phone. A one-way ticket costs $ 3 at GeekWire.
Seattle season ticket holders Matt and Hanna parked in the University District and took the Link light rail downtown and rode the monorail to Seattle Center for the first time in about four years.
“We wanted to see if that would work and then adjust accordingly,” Matt said, adding that they wouldn’t be averse to driving, perhaps on a night out that wasn’t as crazy as the night out. ‘opening.
Scott, a Tacoma season ticket holder, went to the Angle Lake light rail station at SeaTac and took the train to Westlake. The train ride lasted 45 minutes. The monorail ride to Seattle Center takes 90 seconds.
“The neighborhood hasn’t played sports on a regular basis, so let’s see what residents think of parking. A lot has changed, ”he said of Lower Queen Anne and why driving was not his first choice.
Leiweke has previously spoken about his appreciation for alternative transport options, including drones.
We met Leiweke in the lobby before Saturday’s game and requested an update on transporting fans to the arena via drones.
“It’s coming,” he said. “It happens.”
A few seconds of Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” played at 15:02 of the first period during a face-off.
The Kraken’s first goal seconds to go in the first half brought some Nirvana “lithium”, but with a lyrical “Let’s go Kraken” touch.
Seattle-area tech companies, including Smartsheet and PitchBook, have displayed their logos prominently on the ice and during in-game video promotions. The two companies are among the team’s partners.
The evening brought together some of the biggest sports stars and artists in Seattle history.
Four-time WNBA champion Sue Bird waved a towel to annoy the crowd. Seattle Seahawks stars Bobby Wagner and DK Metcalf followed suit, and injured quarterback Russell Wilson was spotted in the crowd and on the jumbotron with Grammy-winning wife Ciara.
– Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) 24 October 2021
Ann Wilson of rock band Heart sang the national anthem and hip-hop star Macklemore made an appearance.
Seattle Sonics legends Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton also performed under the roof where they played for the dearly departed NBA team. Kemp was in the building and Payton yelled on the big screen.
Keep scrolling for more photos and stay tuned for more coverage of tonight’s historic game: