Amazon may have omitted to put its name on the outside of the renovated stadium where the Seattle Kraken will start playing in the NHL next month, but the company is bringing its technology inside the Climate Pledge Arena.
The arena announced Wednesday that four food and beverage stores within the arena will be equipped with “Just Walk Out” cashierless technology like that used at Amazon Go convenience stores and some Fresh grocery stores. The sand shops will also feature Amazon One palm scanning technology, allowing customers to enter and pay with the wave of a hand.
Just Walk Out allows customers to grab what they want and leave a store without having to queue. Cameras and sensors on ceilings and shelves track what a customer picks up and payment is facilitated via a credit card inserted upon entry. Amazon One uses an ID and payment method associated with biometric scanning of a user’s palm. Those who are new to that technology will be able to sign up at kiosks near the stores on the main and upper concourse of the arena.
Using technology to speed up purchases and avoid long lines is a key part of the technology-enhanced experience that representatives from Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena have been promising for years at the remodeled KeyArena site.
“For us, the fan experience within the Climate Pledge Arena is paramount; we want it to be simple, safe and fast for every guest,” said todd Humphrey, senior vice president of Digital Fan Experience for kraken, in a press release. “We are delighted to be working with Amazon to use their innovative technology to make it as easy as reaching for the palm of your hand, picking up an item from a shelf, and heading out to do your shopping.”
Humphrey told GeekWire last year that he was highly motivated “as a Canadian and as a hockey player to get people beer and to their seats faster.” A former director of business development at Amazon, Humphrey previously said that he was a fan of the Just Walk Out technology and that he would love to partner on that kind of experience for Kraken fans.
He echoed the March 2017 sentiment of Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, who led the arena’s remodel. Leiweke told GeekWire on that visit to Seattle that stopping by an Amazon Go store and understanding the technology was “like a life-altering moment.”
“We immediately started talking to them about developing a self-service concession stand at this facility, using their cloud system,” Leiweke said.
Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores will sell beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee, water and food offerings from The Climate Collective, the arena’s food and beverage program. Guests purchasing alcohol, which will be sold in bottles in specialty stores, will need to show identification to a store manager.
Climate Pledge Arena, located at the Seattle Center, opens its doors in October and will be home to the Kraken, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, and will serve as a venue for live music and events. Amazon bought the naming rights in June 2020 and put the Climate Pledge name in the 18,100-seat spot as a way to draw more attention to the actual Climate Pledge, a promise to be net zero carbon by 2040 that was announced by first by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in September 2019.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy joined the Seattle NHL team of owners in September 2018, when he was still head of Amazon Web Services. The expansion team had not yet been awarded to Seattle and the redevelopment of KeyArena was still only a proposal. As more technology is brought into the team and arena, Jassy’s influence over those decisions on behalf of Amazon will no doubt be part of the equation.
Kraken’s Humphrey said last year that he meets regularly with Jassy and the technology committee that Humphrey leads to do a “deep dive” into where things are with app development, the arena, connectivity, and whatever else they can. be doing.
“Andy is one of the leaders in the entire technology space and Amazon is, in my opinion, the most advanced technology company in the world,” said Humphrey. “Having them as partners in the arena is a huge advantage for us.”
Last week, Amazon announced that it was putting its smile logo and The Climate Pledge branding on the sides of Kraken players’ helmets, part of a corporate advertising scheme first introduced by the NHL last season.
The Climate Pledge Arena isn’t the first sports venue to introduce Amazon’s cashierless payment technology. TD Gardenin Boston, home of the Celtics and Bruins, announced in March that two stores were now using Just Walk Out to offer what it called “a fast, frictionless experience.”